Janson’s expected to reopen this month
Imagine that: a remodeling job that has taken longer than expected and has gone over budget.
Despite the setbacks, Janson’s Drive-In, in Chicago’s Beverly community, will open, and soon, said Gus Pettas, who co-owns the fast-food restaurant with Mike Ford.
“There was a lot more construction than we anticipated,” Pettas said. “It took six months more than we expected and put us over our budget.”
The investors had trouble getting additional financing to get the job done, he said. But that issue has been resolved, he said.
“We’re back on track now,” he said.
Janson’s, he said, will reopen by the end of October, almost a year after it originally was supposed to start welcoming customers.
Pettas said all of the equipment has been ordered and now it is just a matter of getting it all in place.
When it opens, it will have a throwback look and menu that harkens back to the 1960s, when Janson’s first became a staple in the South Side community.
Pettas said he is working with members of the Janson family to restore the restaurant, 9900 S. Western Ave., to its original look and to bring back the original top-selling items, including hamburgers, hot dogs, Italian beef, tacos and fries, as well as ice cream and shakes.
Janson’s first was opened in August of 1960 by Jack Janson and his two oldest sons, Joe and Tom. Jack Janson also owned Snackville Junction, another popular Beverly-area restaurant.
Almost immediately, Janson’s was a hit with the community. A month later, Joe left for the Navy, returning in 1974. In the meantime, Tom and his dad pretty much ran the show with Jack’s youngest son, John, working the french fryer.
Over the years, various members of the Janson family cooked, cleaned and took the helm. After Jack Janson died in 1984, different family members ran the business. In 1996, they sold it. Since then, Janson’s has had a couple of owners, each of whom expanded the offerings considerably.
But when it reopens later this month, Pettas said, old-timers will think they’ve stepped back in time.