Starbucks plans new restaurant at old Bakers Square site in Joliet

City Council rejected two attempts to open cannabis dispensary at same location

Emerald Coast, affiliated with the Justice Cannabis Co., wants to open a cannabis dispensary in the former Bakers Square restaurant on Jefferson Street in Joliet, seen here on Monday, June 5, 2023.

Starbucks plans to build another Joliet store on the site of the former Bakers Square restaurant on Jefferson Street.

The old Bakers Square building would be torn down and replaced by a 2,200-square-foot Starbucks with a drive-thru, according to a city staff report on the project.

A permit to allow the drive-thru is on the City Council agenda for Tuesday.

Bakers Square closed in March 2019.

The City Council rejected two previous attempts to convert the Bakers Square site into a cannabis dispensary, most recently in June.

Council member Larry Hug, who was among the council members speaking against a cannabis store at the site, said he sees no problems with Starbucks moving in.

The area around Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet continues to see new development, including this Starbucks restaurant that opened in a newly built strip center in 2022. May 2, 2023.

“Patience is a virtue, and it often pays off,” Hug said of the previous decisions to turn down redevelopment at the site for a cannabis dispensary. “We’re actually getting a restaurant there.”

Hug is chairman of the council’s Public Service Committee, which will review the drive-thru application Monday before it goes to the full council.

Earlier this year, Hug opposed a Starbucks store planned for an Essington Road site in his council district. But that Starbucks faced opposition from an adjacent day care and some residential neighbors who argued that a drive-thru at the site would create traffic and other problems.

The Jefferson Street location is different, Hug said.

“It’s a large commercial lot,” he said. “It served dozens and dozens of people at a time when it was Bakers Square.”

Starbucks has another West Jefferson Street location down the road near the corner of Caterpillar Drive.

The coffee purveyor has been adding locations around Joliet, in recent years opening newly built stores in the North Ridge Plaza on Larkin Avenue and along Plainfield Road near the Louis Joliet Mall.