Owners of Jesse’s Tavern, 10501 S. Ridgeland Ave., Chicago Ridge, Kathy and Jim McKinney, of Chicago Ridge.  (Photos by Kelly White)

Owners of Jesse’s Tavern, 10501 S. Ridgeland Ave., Chicago Ridge, Kathy and Jim McKinney, of Chicago Ridge.  (Photos by Kelly White)

Jesse’s Tavern closes in Chicago Ridge

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Jesse’s Tavern, 10501 S. Ridgeland Ave, Chicago Ridge, held a Farewell Party on Sunday, August 6.

By Kelly White 

Chicago Ridge’s neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name closed its doors this past weekend, but not without a final farewell.  

Jesse’s Tavern, 10501 S. Ridgeland Ave., opened 17 years ago. Owned by Kathy and Jim McKinney, of Chicago Ridge, Jesse’s Tavern, with its infamous red and white sign, was a favorite hometown stop on the Ridgeland strip, gathering together daily regulars, many new faces and countless talented musicians.  

“Jesse’s Tavern was a great local place to hang out,” Kelsey Slawecki, of Chicago Ridge, said. “It always was such a fun and chill atmosphere with the best burgers around.”  

Food prepared at Jesse’s Tavern, including savory burgers, warm cups of chili and steak tacos, was purchased right next door from Jack & Pat’s Old Fashioned Butcher Shop, 10717 Ridgeland Ave.  

“We lived in Chicago Ridge for six years and Jesse’s was always our weekend spot,” Roger Schweikert, now of Palos Heights, said. “It had a nice environment; the food was good and the staff has always been very friendly. Everyone remembers you and knows you and your family. It was Chicago Ridge’s own version of ‘Cheers’.” 

Deciding to open in Chicago Ridge was one of the best decisions the couple made, Kathy said.  

“Chicago Ridge has introduced us to many new friends,” Kathy said. “We haven’t done anything alone here since the day we walked through the door in 2006. The residents and entire community have been amazing and encouraging of us being a local business. It has been a team effort in everything we have done over the years.”  

Jesse’s Tavern was popular for its promotion of talented and local artists, something the McKinneys took great pride in – giving beginners the opportunity to start out, musicians the option to share their own music, along with playing well-known favorites, and hosting open mic nights for anyone to share their talent. 

“We were able to share and promote so many talented artists and musicians through Jesse’s, giving them the chance to share something they love,” Kathy said. “We will forever be grateful for being a part of something so magical.” 

And, patrons agreed, including Chicago Ridge resident, Dean Vollette. 

“The music was always good,” Vollete said. “I also enjoyed the comradery over the years at Jesse’s with the regulars over the years. We all became pretty good friends. It was always fun, and overall, always a good vibe.” 

The bar held a closing party August 6 open to the public and the event did not disappoint, gathering together hundreds of people of all ages throughout the day to wish the McKinneys the best and to say goodbye to an end of an era. 

Although it is bitter sweet to see Jesse’s Tavern officially close its doors, the McKinneys are looking forward to retirement. 

“We are not sure what we will be doing yet upon retirement; it is all part of our next adventure together,” Kathy said. 

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Jesse’s Tavern, 10501 S. Ridgeland Ave., Chicago Ridge, held a Farewell Party on Sunday, August 6. 

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