Anvil Club opens doors to public — a bit
By Erin Sauder For Sun-Times Media September 19, 2013 5:16PM
The financially troubled Anvil Club super club in East Dundee. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: October 21, 2013 2:10PM
EAST DUNDEE — For those who have always wanted to know just what exactly goes on behind closed doors at the Anvil Club in East Dundee, you now have your chance.
The private supper club is now allowing the public for lunch between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
This is the first time the club has opened itself up to the public in its almost-60-year history, said Stephanie Story, director of sales and event planning for Anvil Club.
“We want to let people around the town try it out and come and see what we’re about,” she said.
Currently, Anvil Club officials are trying to boost their membership and recently were before the East Dundee Village Board asking for about $300,000 in the form of tax increment finance funds for renovations on the Meier Street building.
Craig Zachrich from the Anvil Club said the restaurant has been a key business in the village that “has been vital in continuing to bring people to downtown East Dundee from all over the Chicago area.”
He said the recession has strained the Anvil Club and officials “feel it’s quite necessary for us to do some renovations to continue to be a viable business for the village.”
Proposed renovations include new bathrooms, electrical work to correct life/safety issues, fire sprinklers, heating/air conditioning, and other remodeling.
Zachrich said the Anvil Club cannot afford to make those renovations without the village’s help.
The Anvil Club also would like to participate in the village’s facade program, designed to encourage property owners and business tenants to improve the overall exterior appearance of commercial buildings along major thoroughfares within the village. According to the village’s facade program, buildings more than 150 linear feet of street frontage will be offered a grant not to exceed $75,000.
Zachrich anticipates remodeling the building’s exterior will cost $300,000, and he is asking village officials for half of that since the restaurant sits on three streets in the village.
Some trustees and residents have expressed concern about using public funds for the private business, Trustee Allen Skillicorn being one.
However, he said opening the club to the public for Saturday lunches is “a good first step.”
“I think downtown East Dundee could really use a premier restaurant, and I question why the Anvil Club doesn’t want to be that restaurant,” he said. “I think always being open to the public would be a better business plan and better for the village.”
Village President Lael Miller lauds the Saturday lunches as “a great idea.”
“It’s going to allow a different group of people to experience their food and the restaurant,” he said. “And it opens them up to a new audience of people that might not have gotten a chance to go there.”