"The demographics that they're looking for are here, from apopulation and household income standpoint, as well as the densityof the market," Hormanski tells GlobeSt.com. "The Midwest hasproven to be a strong market for them and they seem to besuccessful here. They've seen what they can do out here and they'relooking to grow that."

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Kona has 18 restaurants operating across the country, withanother six locations in development, not including those plannedin the Chicago area. The restaurants are typically around 7,000 sfeach, with a 2,000-sf patio, which can be enclosed for harshweather. The company is open to looking at new construction orexisting buildings in its search, Hormanski says. The restaurant isaiming for at least two new locations to open in Downtown Chicagoand the Near North suburbs by 2010, she says.

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"A location downtown can be considered a marketing tactic forthem and gets the word out to people who work here or come downhere for pleasure. It makes them a bigger player and gets them morerecognition in the marketplace," Hormanski says. "The near northsuburbs are ideal because it's not as saturated of a market asother locations."

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