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Forty Winks could soon feature a neighborhood café

March 9, 2011

Guests of the Forty Winks Inn and residents of the surrounding neighborhood may have a new spot to stop for coffee or a sandwich.

Laurel Red Cloud wants to open Lisa Marie's, a café, in a space inside the hotel that had been used as a bar and restaurant years ago, she told the Plan Commission on Monday. She has asked for permission to serve breakfast and lunch.

"We're taking some new twists on some of the old favorites," she said in an interview after the meeting.

Grilled cheese made with blue cheese, sundried tomatoes and olives might be one specialty, and eggs benedict served on a toasted baguette another.

Opening a restaurant was a dream Red Cloud shared with her daughter, Lisa Marie, who was killed in a car crash a little more than a year ago. The business would be named in her memory.

"This is something I'm pursuing in her honor," Red Cloud said. "She and I cooked together all the time. We shared recipes and ideas, and we talked about opening a small coffee shop or café."

Commissioners said they could see this cafe becoming as a neighborhood gathering place. The Community Development Committee on Tuesday also supported issuing a permit for it. The Common Council must give final approval, which is expected to happen next week.

If the permit is approved, Red Cloud said she'll likely open the cafe in mid-April.

Eventually, she would like to set up a coffee bar with more intimate seating where people can get comfortable.

Marvin Metzger, owner of the hotel at 11017 W. Blue Mound Road, said he hopes the coffee shop will provide some space rental revenue and give people another reason to come to his business.

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