By Jeff Borgardt, News-Star
A planned new café and 35-table restaurant Maraschino at 4250 N. Marine Drive has stalled despite four months of renovations.
Milan Romic, 39, of Southeast Chicago, has been working to develop a 4,248 sq. ft. site for several years. However, a falling out with business partner Sloeaen Pavlovic, 79, and the International Bank of Suburban Stone Park has led to a stalemate.
Romic says the dispute centers on a joint partnership agreement. He is now looking for new fiscal partners.
So far, he has invested $350,000 and the space is 75 percent rehabbed, he said Jan. 14. Construction crews worked four months on the space last year which has been vacant for about a decade.
“In the restaurant business, if you have great food and good service but there is not a good ownership partnership, then the place won’t be open for long,” Romic said.
Maraschino is envisioned as a coffee and sandwich café plus a 35-table dining area. The eatery would also offer room service to the 864-unit, 29-story twin tower high rise Imperial Towers.
The space was previously a pharmacy and coffee shop about 12 years ago. Then, the owner of the grocery store in the building bought the space and left it vacant until Romic 'finally' bought it.
Romic says offers have been made between him and Pavlovic for each to buy one another out but those have been rebuffed. Now, Romic is facing possible foreclosure and bankruptcy.
He says if the eatery opens it would be good for the local economy. He estimated about 40 new jobs would be created. These would be servers and kitchen staff. The eatery would have a hearth stove, lunch and dinner Mediterranean menus and offer catering.
There is bad blood between the former partners.
“I’ve got people breathing down my back for bills but he [Pavlovic] doesn’t care. He is trying to run it into foreclosure and not giving it a chance whatsoever,” Romic said, adding the dispute is threatening his dream and his life savings.
Pavlovic has a restaurant on the 5200 block of N. Broadway, Romic said.
Although the restaurant business is tough in a down economy, Romic still has his fingers crossed. He was set to meet with another possible investor Tuesday. In Aug., Romic said the eatery has been planned to open in six months.
Construction crew work included mechanical, duct work, electrical, plumbing and new doors, according to permits.