Just when you thought pizza and beer was the ultimate sensation: LuLu’s Pizza and Gaming has arrived to rock your world. As part of the recent wave of legalized gambling sweeping over Illinois, the Bloomington City Council has given permission to LuLu’s Pizza and Gaming to open a pizza/gambling establishment.
Pizza and Gambling
LuLu’s Pizza and Gaming already runs a shop in Decatur, and now they want to expand to greener gaming pastures across Illinois. And Bloomington is next on their list. The City Council will announce its final decision on the liquor and gaming license for LuLu’s on Monday.
The pizzeria’s business model includes video slots in a separate gaming room which is accessible only to those over 21, in order to keep the kiddies out. LuLu’s website even announces ‘friendly staff, comfortable seats’ for those who fancy an after-pizza gambling session.
While the concept of a pizzeria is nothing new, the combination of pizza and gambling might just prove to be a winning one. In a sea of thousands of pizzerias operating in every city, town, and village across America, LuLu’s offers a new type of topping: video gambling.
Their marketing model is apparent in LuLu’s logo. A girl in a short red dress carries a pizza to a classic red convertible. This throwback to the drive-in carhop days might play to the nostalgic set. Just add a pair of fuzzy dice to your rear view mirror, insert an Elvis 8-track tape, and off you go.
Empty Lot Full of Promise
A Mr. Quick restaurant sat at the corner of Washington and Clinton streets in Bloomington, Illinois from 1964 until it was shut down in 2001. The city bought the site and demolished the building as part of a plan to widen the intersection. However, 20 years later, the lot stands empty, and local residents would like to see something new.
According to local media sources, the City Council voted unanimously to grant LuLu’s Pizza and Gaming permission to operate a restaurant at the location. Mark Allen and Carl Muench, doing business as Carmala LLC, have requested to build a LuLu’s restaurant on the property.
City Manager Tim Gleason said the developers also own a Speed Lube business in the area, and their proposal expressly seeks permission to offer video gaming along with their restaurant and liquor license deal. Gleason said that the developers “wanted assurances that they were going to receive a video gaming terminal license.”
The council voted 8-0 to approve the development agreement, which includes a restaurant liquor license for the sale of wine and beer for consumption on the premises 7 days a week. Part of the agreement includes a promise to build and open the restaurant by April of 2021 in order to receive the gaming license.
The city of Bloomington has limited gaming revenue at 50% for all establishments in order to avoid what they call ‘gambling parlors’ within city limits. But this works out perfectly for LuLu’s, as their business model includes a ‘healthy’ mix of food and gaming. In order to provide certainty to the owners of LuLu’s, Bloomington Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said the city would grant them a gaming license well in advance of any construction.
“So as you can imagine as a business owner … if you’ve built (gaming) into your business model, you would like some level of assurance that a license would be available,” Tyus said.
The new pizzeria has promised to meet the 50% maximum on gambling revenue required by the city, along with limiting the hours of the gaming room. Pizza tossing can proceed at normal speed without limits.
Meanwhile, Chicago still can’t build a darn casino. While the city bigwigs stumble over their own bureaucracy and red tape, the solution is right in front of their eyes: pizza and gaming.
How about merging world-famous Chicago pizza and gambling? Maybe that’s the secret recipe for Chicago businesses to finally offer up a juicy slice of gambling for hungry gamers.
Winner, winner! Pizza dinner!
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