BURR RIDGE, IL — A Burr Ridge bar with close ties to the mayor doesn’t have a license to provide live entertainment, but it has been advertising DJs for more than a month on social media.
Last year, when the village considered a permit for the Are We Live lounge, the restaurant’s representative promised that it would not provide live music, only ambient variety. This was after neighbors raised concerns about the noise.
In January, the bar looked set to breach that pledge with adverts for a singer, but backed down after Patch posted about it.
The Village’s definition of “live entertainment” includes DJs.
At the request of the village council, the planning commission has been considering since April relaxing the rules for live entertainment, so that venues such as Are We Live can offer music without obtaining a special permit.
The commission has already discussed the issue twice, but its members seem divided on the issue, with some saying they want to continue to require special permits.
Like Burr Ridge, nearby towns such as Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills require special use permits for shows, while La Grange allows it as a prop, as Burr Ridge plans to do, according to Burr records. Ridge.
Are We Live and the nearby Capri Ristorante, both on the County Line plaza, are owned by Filippo “Gigi” Rovito. Until Grasso became mayor again in 2019, he served as Rovito’s attorney in a number of cases. A plate bears the name of the mayor of the Capri Ristorante. And Rovito donated $5,000 to Grasso’s unsuccessful 2018 attorney general’s campaign. But the mayor returned the money after an upstate television station questioned the donation.
Rovito, Grasso, Village Administrator Evan Walter and Community Development Manager Janine Farrell did not return messages for comment on Monday.
In an email to village officials on Monday, resident Patricia Davis questioned why the village would allow Are We Live to violate the code.
“Does this business enjoy special favors from the Village?” Davis asked. “If citations are issued, they have no effect as the company announces a DJ for later this week.”
She said the village has the power to revoke Are We Live’s business and liquor licenses.
Perhaps Grasso’s most prominent critic, former Burr Ridge administrator Zach Mottl, has long questioned Grasso’s connection to Rovito, saying the company owner enjoys benefits that others don’t. Mottl frequently notes Rovito’s criminal record.
Mott was defeated in his re-election bid last year to Grasso-aligned candidates.