Mardi Gras Pub

| November 1, 2012

If you are not a “local”, you might not know of a quaint, obscure little pub located on Front Street in Franklin Park. Facing the train tracks and enduring the noise of the freight and passenger trains going by, the Mardi Gras Pub, according to owner Stan Konrick, is a great place to relax, watch a sports game and enjoy some drinks with friends.

The building was owned by the Banti Family and back around 1994, Stan purchased it outright with cash. “I didn’t want any mortgage or leases,” explained Stan. The building itself is approximately 105 years old and was on the market for 10 years before Stan made an offer to the owner, Eugene Banti, with one big stipulation; they be out in two weeks. The Banti’s originally ran the first bar there in Franklin Park called Banti’s Tap and Grocery Store. The area around the pub used to be farmland and the Banti’s raised cattle. The property also has another building which houses four studio apartments that Stan rents out and a smaller house that his son Richie stays in.

Stan was born in Chicago but moved to New Orleans. When he retired he was itching for something to do and decided to come back up to Chicago.  After searching the area for an establishment to purchase, he decided upon the Banti property as it offered not only a business, but a place to live as well.  Stan and his wife of 59 years, Shirley, now deceased, moved in and put a lot of work into the business. “There were days I would work from 8 in the morning till 4 the next morning.”  “Business was really good years back, but with people losing their jobs and their homes, it slowed down quite a bit,” Stan said rather sadly.  “Now, depending on how many patrons we have, we may close at eleven, twelve or one in the morning. It all depends.”

As mentioned, Stan lives on the property. While showing me around, I met his friendly dog Susie and he pointed out some of the things he’d like to sell, “just so someone can get some enjoyment out of them and appreciate them.”  One was a lighted picture of Venice that has a working clock in it that was hand crafted and painted by Pezzella Studio in Chicago. He has a large collection of clown art that he hopes he can find a collector for and some three dimensional plates that “just might look good hanging up in someone else’s home.”

Going back down into the bar, Stan pointed out a few items of interest; a bowling game that still takes just quarters and custom made tables that came from a strip bar that he picked up at auction for $50 “out the door.” With pride, Stan pointed out that, “the floors are granite and these are real brick walls, not the fake brick. The bar and footrest are also made of solid decorative brick. You don’t find too many bars made like this any more.”  He also showed me the walk in cooler. “You’ll always find a cold one here,” Stan explained about his beers.

With business being slow, Stan explained that he doesn’t have any more “barmaids” and that his son, Richie, tends the bar. Stan has seen too many customers pass away that he misses and there’s a bulletin board with pictures of past and present patrons. “We’re like family here.” He still occasionally tends bar and he said that when he does, he tends to charge less on his prices than what’s posted. “I don’t have any mortgage or rent, so why should I pass that on to the customer?”  Compared to other establishments, even his posted prices are lower than most.

Mardi Gras doesn’t serve food, although years ago they had a full working kitchen, but Stan stated that during half time or ball games, he more times than not treats his patrons to free food. However, Stan said,“There’s just nobody here any more.”  And although this isn’t a subject many establishments like to talk about, Stan prides himself in the fact that you, “won’t find one bug in this place.” He has a service come out monthly and he couldn’t be happier with the results. I was truly impressed with the cleanliness of Mardi Gras and of Stan’s pride in his establishment.

Stan says this is a great, neighborhood place to come for a drink or two, meet friends and enjoy the games on their numerous TV’s. “There’s no trouble here; it’s quiet and the police like us because of that.” It may be hard to find, but it’s one of the nicest pubs in town.

Make it a point to stop on in to the Mardi Gras Pub and tell them People & Places sent you!

Mardi Gras Pub is located at 10314 Front Street in Franklin Park, Illinois.

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Category: Featured Businesses

About the Author ()

Barbara is the publisher of People and Places Newspaper which she started in August of 2011. A lifelong resident of Schiller Park, she always felt it important that residents needed to be kept informed about their communities. Since newspaper coverage for Schiller Park stopped about twenty years ago, she made it a goal to bring a newspaper back to the area. She tries to include all of Leyden Township in her reporting and wants to keep true with the mission of the paper to "inform, educate and entertain."

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