A plan to clone a popular Algonquin restaurant to revive McHenry's downtown was set back Tuesday when the McHenry County Finance and Audit Committee denied the firm's request for a $150,000 revolving loan.
Buddyz Pizzeria co-owner Tim Scarnato said, "This thing has been in the works for three years. We could help McHenry but maybe not now."
Buddyz' proposed McHenry expansion could be the first new business to locate in the village's Riverwalk plan to tie together two business areas along its Fox River frontage. "We've been to all the banks and all we get is nothing," said Scarnato.
Presenting the loan request, Deputy County Administrator John Labaj told the committee Buddyz' main asset was its good track record in Algonquin. "It has kind of a real-world experience for its projections," he said.
Chairman Marc Munaretto, District 1, wasn't so sure the record applied. Buddyz is on Algonquin Road just off Randall: "You don't compare Randall Road to downtown McHenry," he said.
Even so, District 5 Member Tina Hill observed, McHenry's northside Olive Garden restaurant "is packed every night."
That reminded Munaretto that "Riverwalk isn't a primary retail destination. Parking is going to be a big issue."
District 4's John Hammerand was worried about security on the loan. "If you know anything about restaurant equipment, after a failure it's worth pennies on the dollar. As much as I'd like to say 'Great' that creates a problem."
Dan Ryan, District 6, summed up the cons saying, "In this we have a risky business in a risky economy in a risky location."
At the vote only Hill supported the request. Labaj said, "I don't think we've ever made a restaurant loan."