Tom Tunney

Tunney Received Outdoor Dining Permit Faster Than Most, Records Show

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

When it comes to obtaining a city permit to expand a restaurant to outdoor dining during the pandemic, Ald. Tom Tunney received one of the very first permits and obtained it more quickly than the majority of Chicago restaurants that applied, NBC 5 found.

Tunney’s Ann Sather restaurant received two citations two weeks ago for allowing customers to eat inside defying the city and state orders that ban indoor dining. 

In June, Tunney had set up a large tent in the back alley of Ann Sather, but a complaint was filed and later the tent was taken down.

An Ann Sather Restaurants spokeswoman said the tents were not in an alley.

"In total, four tents were erected on private property," Kim Shepherd said in a statement. "Specifically, they were located in Ann Sather's parking lot, which the restaurant controls via our lease."

"In addition to Ann Sather, Strings Ramen and bopNgrill were included on the permit," Shepherd said. "All three restaurants front Belmont Avenue and had easy access to the tents which were steps away from their kitchens."

Shepherd said none of the restaurants serve liquor, no complaints regarding the tents were received and "the two-sided tents stayed up until the weather got too cold to serve food outdoors."

NBC 5 learned through a FOIA request that Tunney received his outdoor dining permit for his popular breakfast restaurant in just four days.

Other Chicago restaurants waited 15 days and some waited as many as 47 days to obtain the same permit.     

Bacon and Jam, another breakfast restaurant located on 111th Street, waited 23 days.

The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which handles the outdoor dining permits, told NBC 5 “the timeline for permit approvals varies due to several contributing factors including application completeness, proposed expanded dining area location and whether or not the application includes liquor.” 

Below is the list of Chicago restaurants that applied for outdoor dining permits and when they were granted permission.

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