Local News

McHenry officials approve permit for new Arby’s, slimming Route 120 vacancies

A structure at 4104 W. Elm St. in McHenry, seen Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, is on a property set to be turned into an Arby's restaurant after the McHenry City Council made a zoning change for the parcel.

A new Arby’s is on its way to McHenry along Route 120, continuing the city’s efforts in filling vacant spaces along its thoroughfares and replacing the Arby’s that left the city in 2018.

The McHenry City Council on Monday night unanimously approved the permit required for every drive-thru restaurant in the city for a proposed Arby’s at 4104 W. Elm St., where a structure with some boarded windows now sits.

If the project moves forward, it could slightly change the road design on Route 120, which is called Elm Street through McHenry.

The business seeking to turn the spot into an Arby’s gained verbal agreement from the Illinois Department of Transportation to add an eastbound left-turn lane into the property and reconfigure the timing of the stoplight at Route 120 and Crystal Lake Road to allow for entry into the parcel, McHenry Community Development Director Ross Polerecky said.

“Everybody was very upset when Arby’s left north of town,” Polerecky said.

A Popeye’s chicken restaurant has since opened in what used to be an Arby’s at 1800 N. Richmond Road, even though initially Panera Bread had expressed interest in the location and moving from its store across the street, according to previous Northwest Herald reporting.

Arby’s placement into the Route 120 spot comes just after a consultant for the city that recruits retailers for local governments across the country told McHenry’s elected leaders the city is prime for growth of its dining offerings and has strong prospects to attract national and regional restaurant brands, especially with some of the new housing slated to be built in McHenry.

The city’s approval of a permit for the Arby’s also follows a fall acquisition the city thinks could rejuvenate the McHenry Plaza shopping center on Route 31, where the new owner has been able to fill the entire structure with business tenants for the first time in years.