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First Taco Bell to add alcohol will also add bouncers

The owner of the nation's first booze-serving Taco Bell has agreed to hire a security guard to watch the door on weekends and to stop selling liquor by midnight when it opens next month.

Restrictions on hours were part of a plan that evolved out of a community group meeting in June where residents expressed concerns about late hour and underage drinking, as well as patrons leaving with open containers of booze.

The plan is expected to be approved by the city Liquor Commissioner Greg Steadman "any day now" according to Bill O'Donaghue, a lawyer for Neil Borkan, a Lincolnshire-based franchisee who owns the Wicker Park Taco Bell along with 34 other stores.

"[Borkan] wanted to cooperate and [he] felt at end of day it is a very reasonable request. It's reviewable after a period of time. The plan can be changed in nine months [or] extended as is," O'Donaghue said.

Once signed off on by Steadman, the "plan of operation" for the new spot at 1439 N. Milwaukee Ave. will be posted online, joining 158 other Chicago business that are required to operate under more restrictive plans of operation.

Rob Poetsch, a Taco Bell spokesman said on Tuesday that "all signs point to the restaurant opening in August," with mid-to-late August being a more realistic target than early August.

"Our franchisee is thrilled with the positive feedback from city officials and the Wicker Park Community on this newly designed Taco Bell," Poetsch said.

Leah Root, president of the Wicker Park Committee, which met with Borkan and Poetsch at a public meeting in  June, said her group supports the Taco Bell entry.

"I think they were very cooperative and we worked in tandem with the 1st ward office to come to an agreement," Root said.

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