The newly remodeled Chester's tavern in Summit. (Supplied photos)

The newly remodeled Chester's tavern in Summit. (Supplied photos)

Legendary Chester’s tavern re-opens in Summit

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By Carol McGowan

Chester’s tavern, which has been operating in Summit for nearly a century, has re-opened after a two-year shutdown for remodeling.

The new faces of Chester’s are brothers Dan and Mike Damaschke, along with business partner Billy Chen.

In early 2021, they got involved by taking over the business.

“Originally, we were going to do a small renovation, and open back up pretty quickly,” said Dan Damaschke.

“However, the place needed serious work,” he said. “After about six months into the project, we decided to do a full rehab on the building.”

Someone walking into the establishment today wouldn’t recognize the new Chester’s as the same place.

Damaschke says the only original item remaining is the deck pizza oven, which is over 30 years old and still creates an original Chicago-style tavern pizza.

He invites all to come in and see the new Chester’s Tavern and try the pizza.

In addition to pizza, they serve a handful of sandwiches and continue to expand the menu as they go.

Chester’s is at 6255 S. Archer Road, Summit.

The tavern is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight.

They have been open for just over a month now, and the word is getting out.

“We have return customers and new customers.  A guy came in who lives near 63rd and Central in Chicago.  He posted on a pizza Facebook page about our pizza, and we have been getting customers from the city, Willowbrook, Darien, all over, which we love,” added Damaschke.

There is no delivery at this time, but there may be in the future.  If a customer wants to order and pick up, their phone number is the same as it’s been forever, 708-458-1117.

Some on social media seemed shocked that the bar was removed as it had so much history. Damaschke said they wanted to keep the bar, but it didn’t work out.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to save it. We really did try, but it ended up being a little too fragile for us to keep. Other than some of the memorabilia, and the statues, the only other item we were able to keep was the pizza oven.”

Damaschke said he hoped those who were sad to see the old place go will give the new version a try.

“We did our best to preserve what we could. We managed to save the pizza oven, which is cranking out some great pizzas. We will be putting the statues back up soon, and have tons of memorabilia. But unfortunately, the bar itself, ceiling, and many others areas of the building were just too deteriorated for us to save. Extensive water damage was hard to overcome. But we get it, definitely understand. The “Old Chester’s” was a great place, and I am sure we all had some great times there. We had to make the decision to make this the “New Chester’s” with different features. But our original plan was to do a ‘light’ renovation and reopen. We simply had to modify that plan as we continued to run into issues.”

Last month, Argo High School held their annual Alumni Night and the official after-party was held at Chester’s.  Chester’s was always a popular spot for Argo alumni to hang out during homecoming parades, after games, and after Alumni Night.

That was the first big night for the re-opening and the place was packed wall-to-wall.

“It was great seeing so many family and happy faces that night,” said Damaschke, himself an Argo graduate.

“We welcome everyone and hope they continue to make memories within these walls.”

chesters outside

Outside of Chester’s from the Archer Road entrance. 

1 Comment

  1. Karen Wasko on February 9, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    It was a great time. Place is beautiful. We will definitely be back. Pizza was outstanding. So glad your back and open



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