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Dunkin' Donuts Franchise Eyes East Lake Forest Train Station

Move would require making changes to drive-through area and rerouting bike traffic.

has received overtures from a Dunkin' Donuts franchise owner interested in moving into the East Lake Forest Train Station.

Alderman Donald Schoenheider said he thought the doughnut franchise would be "a welcomed addition to the train station, particularly for those who commute downtown on a regular basis," at Monday night's Committee of the Whole meeting.

"It definitely would be a positive," Schoenheider said. "It would be a great economic development piece for the city."

The train station recently underwent a makeover that began last year and is in its final stage of a three-stage process.

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The city also has embarked on a campaign to market the inside to prospective businesses.

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Pasquesi Home & Gardens plans to open a new “boutique” store May 1 in the space previously occupied by the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce.

The only tenants in the building are and a shoe repair alcove. vacated its site on the east side of the building when it moved to the 800 block of North Western Avenue.

Schoenheider said the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner is aware of the historic nature of the train station, which was built in 1899, and that any plans would have to be made in conjunction with the Historic Preservation Commission.

Alderman Kent Elliott Novit said the parking aspect of the train station would need to be examined if Dunkin’ Donuts were to occupy the space, and the kind of signs used also would need to be considered.

Schoenheider said the drive-through would need to be raised from its height of 9 feet, 6 inches, and the bike path would have to be rerouted along the east side of the building.

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Joyce Reda April 06, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Love, love, love the idea!
Bonita April 06, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I agree that some commuters would love the convenience of that cuppa right at the station, but the irony of Lake Forest having as many coffee shops as banks! We've got Starbucks, Caribou, Caputo, Einsteins all within walking distance of the train! So instead of a nice brisk walk before the work day begins, our residents will be enjoying a big fat donut instead! In keeping with the American obesity statistics, we are truly an "All American City"!
Jim Powers April 06, 2012 at 02:03 PM
The input on our Facebook page has been equally supportive.
Sue April 06, 2012 at 02:28 PM
It is a dream come true!!! This is wonderful news - I think it would be a fantastic addition to our town. My fingers have crossed that it happens.
RSG April 06, 2012 at 03:04 PM
What a terrible image for Lake Forest to add yet another fast food chain. What signal does that make... hey lets all get obese. I agree we have too many coffee shops and banks in this town. Does Dunkin Donuts match the image of we want to project? Ever since we let Macy's leave the square there has been a decline and it will continue until someone steps up to take charge.
Steve Handwerker April 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Chocolate longjohn for me, please! What a great idea!
Ted April 06, 2012 at 05:49 PM
After living in LF for over 50 years I again must wonder what some people are thinking. Let me see if I have this right. Our city leadership spent over $500,000 in legal fees trying to keep McDonald's out of town, and then we accepted Burger King on the edge of downtown and McDonald's by the west train station. Then the residents out west by Conway Farms and Hospira fought vehemently to keep Costco and its several million in sales tax revenues out because it would be an "eyesore" and cause too much traffic even though most would be on the edge of town and on and off the tollway and out of sight. To keep Costco out the city bought the property and spent millions on its new Taj Majal city facility in its place while the old city services building rots unused in downtown Lake Forest. Now Costco is even closer and more visible, yet the sales tax revenue ALL goes to a neighboring town and half the cars in the parking lot sport LF city stickers. Now our aldermen are pushing for a Drive through Dunkin Donuts in Market Square. Why don't we just put the Dunkin Donuts in Forest Park so we can destroy the whole town all at once and be done with it!
Julie April 06, 2012 at 06:52 PM
hate hate hate the idea. what an eyesore to a lovely town, (and yes, I frequently commute downtown). allow 5-7 extra minutes and run over to caribou, gerhards or einsteins for pete's sake.
Roger Billings April 06, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Ted, that's a great idea. Imagine the size of the parking lot and drive-thru they could put in the park. There's probably even enough room to do one of those combo Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins so people could have ice cream in the summer. You should be on the planning committee for the Forest Park project. Seriously, I mentioned DD in the train station to my teenaged daughter. She is more in tune with clothing than real estate aesthetics, loves coffee, and likes donuts, but even she thinks this is a terrible idea.
d brooks April 07, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Dee I think it is an absolutely awful, awful idea. Dunkin Donuts, seriously is nothing more than junk food loaded with empty calories and zero nutritional value. What are the town leaders thinking considering something like this. Another coffee spot will just lead to another of our established businesses losing business and possibly closing, we don't need or want more empty stores around town. In addition, Dunkin Donuts is not the food we want to make available to our youth. Many students go into town before and after school and making high caloric, high fat, high sugar snacks even more available to children is a deplorable idea.
Bonita April 07, 2012 at 01:28 PM
No one could have said it better, Ted!
Robert Baldwin April 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Ted, I agree.........Historic Market square now welcomes Dunkin Donuts ..... stick a fork in me !!!
Kevin April 10, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Folks - if your worried about calories than don't eat the donut. Everyone makes their own eating choices. Dunkin has the best coffee and a majority of their sales are coffee not donuts.
Craig Koppmann April 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Seriously? A drive through coffee/donut shop in the hear of lake forest. Is this an April fool's joke? Absolutely looney idea. DISLIKE!!!
Craig Koppmann April 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Editor.. please add the letter T to my post above... should read... "...in the heart of Lake Forest." thanks
Life is Good April 12, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Oh the snobbery in Lake Forest continues!!
Steve April 13, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Please folks let's get some things clear here... Burger King was in town long before Mc Donalds and yes it was stupid for Lake Forest to fight McDonalds and tell them they could come to town if they agreed to all of Lake Forests demands, well they did and then LF voted them down by one vote!! Oops McDonalds lead atrtorney was a Lake Forest resident!! Of copurse McDonalds is going to win!! Now Dunkin wants to come to town... I'll bet if Caribou, Starbucks or any othe the vast number of coffee shops were given the opportunity to go in the train station they would! A coffee shop in a train station is a natural! If DD is not upscale enough, well I guess oh well, TGhey are in the right place at the right time. And they have the dollars to support the space. But I am sure like all space in the Train Station, the space has to go for open bid, Since this is not a signed deal, then whyu doesn't Starbucks, Caribou, Einsteins etc offer a counter bid? Or better yet, Why doesn't somebody open a Mom and Pop location there? (Because a Mom and Pop does not have the needed funds!!) The space is limited and a drive through is going to be problematic but able to be done. I am afraid folks unless somebody either counters DD's bid for the space, That is what will be there, and you know what? DD's coffee has out done any of the others for years and years, Don't worry, I am sure Lake Forest will tone down the signage they allow and the store front will blend in!
Lisa April 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Lake Forest has Gerhard's beautiful pastery shop literally across from the train station, and their coffee is arguably better than DD. Their offerings are made from scratch with real butter, sugar, eggs, etc., not processed, chemical-laden mixes. Further, Gerhard's is a Lake Forest- resident owned business that unfailingly and generously gives back to the community's auctions and fundraisers and donates to an area food pantry. Can we not walk across the street to support one of our own? Is having a fast-food chain in our beautiful historic train station really the kind of community we aspire to be?
Craig Koppmann April 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM
@Life is Good; "snobberry"? No. Concern about added auto congestion in an already this congested (by autos) city and... re-routing the bike path because of associated safety concerns... YES. So yeah...if we must... go ahead and put a DD (if they pay the freight) in there. Just kill the drive through concept.
Pat Lyon April 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Lisa, not everyone has your refined taste (or money) for expensive fancy pastries. Maybe all those nannies, housekeepers, groundskeepers, Jewel cashiers/baggers, teachers, students, etc. who train in every day to work here in LF deserve to purchase something in this town too. How narrow-minded to think that only LF'ers should purchase things in LF.
Steve April 13, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Regarding the 3 previous posts, Yes I would love to see a Mom and Pop business such as Gerhardts or Sweets to put in the coffee shop in the trainstation. After all look how well Bob Pasquesi did with his Hot Dog Cart down at the beach so many years ago. American Express has started a Small Business Saturdays campaign to get people to start supporting local small businesses. The reason being is small business is what starts, grows and employs the vast majority of this country and they do it rapidly. My vote is for a local to open a coffee shop or a local business to add a second location there to serve the community. And yes I agree that it should be modestly priced goods so ewveryone can afford it. I also want to nip this worry about traffic in the bud.
Steve April 13, 2012 at 05:19 PM
The masses worried about increased traffic if Costco were to go in in Conway Park, they opened in Mettawa, is there more traffic or huge congestion? This argument has been raised so many times I want to scream! It does not hold water! Traffic is the key to making a business succesful, so yes we want more traffic. And no it won't make travel in downtown Lake Forest any more problematic. But as I stated above, The space I am sure is up for open bid and if someone has a desire to see something else in there, come forward and speak your peace, or DD will be in the locatioon, which would not be the end of the world. After all look how well the little kiosk location did at Mobli at Old Elm Rd and Sheridan Rd did for years. And guess who frequented that location... Lake Forest residents!!! So let's drop the snobbery issue as well ok? Oh and for the record the vast majority of Costco customers in Mettawa are from Lake Forest.
Reginald E G Ash December 28, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Reggie and Tammy Ash the owner of LuLu's Frozen Delights and The World"s Greatest Coffee and Donuts now in Lake Bluff are also trying to get the same spot.
Steve December 29, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I just overheard that DD Has a signed deal for the space now. First it was going to happen, then it wasn't and now it sounds like it is going to happen. Who knows what the real answer is!!
Reginald E G Ash December 29, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I don't know what the story is but I've been trying to find out for the last month. Susan Kelsey has been trying to help me and I understand DD has been thinking about this and trying to get their way for almost a year now. LuLu's now in Lake Bluff would be a first class addition and has much better coffee and far superior donuts. LuLu's is not a chain and the owners have been Lake Bluff residents for over fifteen years. If LuLu's was given the green light they would NOT change the look of the train staition and would be in and paying rent not after a year of talks but with in two months.
Vicky Kujawa December 30, 2012 at 09:38 AM
'Refined taste'........? It's simply a matter of common sense. If you're eating hydrogenated oil, corn syrup and aspartame then don't whine when you're 75 pounds overweight with a heart condition and diabetes. Even Twinkies didn't have half the cheapened garbage ingredients in them 40 years ago as they do now. I love DD coffee but face it; their donuts are pure shytte.
Vicky Kujawa December 30, 2012 at 09:40 AM
I can't see cramming a drive-thru into that teeny, overloaded parking lot.
Steve December 31, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I heard The DD was a done deal from an employee of Lous Barber Shop in the Train Station. Perhaps you need to ask Lou.
Shannon February 18, 2014 at 05:58 AM
Terrible idea. This will kill some of the local businesses that serve real food. DD is processesed and the coffee is full of chemical flavorings. Plus they use foam cups....terrble for the environment.the drive thru is a joke andwould be a nightmare for pedestrians and cyclists(who use the bike trail). Im all for progress, when it is actually a step forward.

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