THE BEEF ‘N’ BARREL RESTAURANT

One of the interesting things about writing these entries is taking note of the topics people are searching for when they stumble across the blog.  A number of the searches have been for the Beef ‘N’ Barrel Restaurant that was located at 2400 N. Hammond Drive in Schaumburg.  Not having been in the area long enough to know about this restaurant, I thought it might be interesting to do a little research.  Here’s what I found…

The Beef ‘N’ Barrel was a small, local chain with other, earlier locations in Elk Grove Village and Lombard.  The Schaumburg location was its third location and was located just off of Algonquin Road.  According to a page from the 1969 edition of Realty and Building, a mortgage was obtained that same year to build the restaurant.  Classified ads in various issues of the Daily Herald began asking for help the following year in 1970.  The restaurant was owned by Sam Boznos and managed by George Platoplious early on. John H. Lundgren was a later manager who served until August 1972 when he died of a sudden heart attack.

Known for its free peanuts and, later, popcorn, that were available at each table, the business had a rustic, somewhat Western atmosphere.  Families were welcome but as the evening progressed, entertainment such as 1950s-style sock hops and local contemporary folk-rock group performances became part of the fun.  In fact, the restaurant also (unsuccessfully) sought permission from the Schaumburg Board of Trustees to operate a backgammon room in 1975.  If you’re old enough to remember, backgammon was making a bit of a comeback and the Beef ‘N’ Barrel was hoping to jump into the foray.

One of their biggest nights for entertainment was New Year’s Eve.  In 1973 an ad in the Daily Herald had an advertised special of $38.75 per couple.  That included “Choice Sirloin or Filet Mignon with unlimited salad and dessert.”  There was no drink limit and live entertainment, including games, was provided.

The Beef ‘N’ Barrel lasted until 1975 or 1976.  Ads for the restaurant stopped in 1975.   By November 1976 Mr. Boznos had established a second restaurant named Hedon Place in the same location and they were advertising for help in the Daily HeraldIt was run by David Wolfgram and lasted until 1980 when a new, local chain established their flagship bar/restaurant in the same location.  It enjoyed many years of success.  Anyone care to take a guess as to what the name of this business was?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

16 Responses to “THE BEEF ‘N’ BARREL RESTAURANT”

  1. Keith Says:

    Alumni Club ?

  2. Larry Rowan Says:

    The Snuggery!

  3. Dave Leeds Says:

    Don’t forget, after the Beef and Barrel closed, it was called The Hedon place for a few years.

  4. Robin Says:

    The Snuggery!

  5. BARB MARX Says:

    I WAS A WAITRESS AND LATER BARTENDER AT THE SCHAUMBURG LOCATION. THERE WAS AN ENTERTAINMENT BAR UPSTAIRS IN THE LOFT. MOST NIGHTS, AN ENGLISH PROFESSOR FROM HARPER COLLEGE PLAYED AND SANG. HIS NAME WAS SEAN RYAN. I RECALL HE PLAYED EARLY SONGS BY THE CANADIAN MUSICIAN, . I WAS IMPRESSED AS I HAD JUST MOVED FROM CANADA. NICK BARZELIS WAS THE GREEK MANAGER WHO STARTED THE BACKGAMMON CRAZE. ANOTHER MANAGER WAS RED HEADED RUTH. SHE LATER BECAME A MANAGER AT ALEXANDERS RESTAURANT ON ALGONQUIN ROAD. SHE FIRED ME AT ALEXANDERS AS BARTENDER BECAUSE I PUT A DRINK IN THE WRONG GLASS. I STILL HAVE MY BEEF N BARREL COWGIRL OUTFIT AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. WOULD LOVE TO CONTACT ANYONE WHO WORKED THERE. I STILL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH KATHY SKARLAT AND HER BROTHER, STEVE. I AM BACK IN CANADA, BUT ON FACEBOOK. REMEMBER THE SIGNATURE BELTBUSTER AND JUNIOR BELTBUSTER.

    • jrozek Says:

      Barb,

      This is really good, detailed information about the Beef and Barrel–and it could only be added by someone who was personally involved with the restaurant! If there is a way for you to take a photo of the Beef and Barrel Cowgirl outfit and email it to me, I’d love to add it to the blog posting. That sounds truly priceless!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library
      jrozek@stdl.org

  6. BARB MARX Says:

    sean ryan played Gordon Lightfoot’s music.

  7. LizH Says:

    My family used to frequent Beef and Barrel. If I remember, the menu was very limited — tacos, burger, and a couple of other things, but even with the limited options, it was a great place. We kids used to love being able to throw the peanut shells on the floor, something we would never dare do at home! 🙂 I miss those days.

  8. Dean Boznos Says:

    How extraordinary.
    I randomly searched the web this afternoon… probably because it’s Memorial Day and I was missing people.

    I found all of your comments and wonderful remarks.

    My father was SAM BOZNOS, the owner and creator of Schaumburg’s BEEF N’ BARREL.

    I grew up in that restaurant happily in tow of my dad. He passed nearly a decade ago and would have been so pleased to read your comments. I was. Perhaps he is as well. I’ll fill in a few blanks in recompense.

    He drew the plans up in our basement. Dad was a skilled architect, as well as restaurateur.

    The reason the menu says, “A Lander’s Restaurant,” is because dad married GUS LANDER’s daughter, DENISE, my mom, and left the Boznos family business “PAR KING SKILL GOLF” (Glenview and Lincolnshire) to enter the restaurant business with his new father in law, my grandpa.

    Gus Lander owned “LANDER’S” downtown on Wabash (now Miller’s Pub under the EL tracks) and later “LANDER’S CHALET” in Schaumburg (now an unaffiliated motel). The property adjacent to the Chalet was purchased for dad and grandpa’s joint venture that dad named the Beef N’ Barrel.

    Yes, the UPSTAIRS LOFT was a favorite place for my brothers and sister to hang out and eat Beltbusters before opening time. I do remember SEAN RYAN! He was the musician mentioned above, and his memory seems inextricably tied to Don McLean’s “American Pie” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.” The juke box (the days of the juke box were still carrying over from the fifties into the sixties and seventies) seemed to have “Brandy” by Looking Glass in high rotation. “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson bumped Brandy from that spot.

    I also can remember the BELTBUSTER RECIPE had something to do with bread crumbs and tomato juice being mixed into the patties. Sorry, that’s all I have on that.

    The TABLE CLOTHES were red and white checked to match the paper liners of the RED BASKETS. There wasn’t a plate in the place – only baskets.

    And then there were those COWGIRL UNIFORMS:

    It’s a bit odd that a western theme place played music of the day while the gorgeous waitresses and bartenders wore western outfits of white fringed miniskirts with cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Can anyone remember the colorful BRANIFF AIRLINES of the day at nearby O’Hare? They had a print ad campaign that had “Sky Strip” in large block font at the top. It featured flight attendants in long coats, white gloves and pill box hats – clothing that got shed layer by layer throughout the flight to reveal a very sixties Go-Go type miniskirt/sleeveless jumpsuit underneath. That was the climate in those days. Everyone was enjoying both sides of a newfound ability to see and be seen, well sort of. I do recall many of the beautiful waitresses complaining to my father about being harassed by men who’d drank too much and forgot to control their mouths or hands under the influence of the SCHLITZ BEER or the infamous VOLCANO COCKTAILS. Thankfully, these ill manners eventually gave way to political correctness and a more respectful appreciation of the changes in fashion and freedom, well kind of. At least we don’t say ‘stewardess’ anymore. As a really young guy then, I got a bigger hoot out of the sound of peanut shells crunching under my Frye Boots, and the gal’s cowboy boots… until dad had me run a big broom, a broom bigger than myself then, to clear the floor of thousands of accumulating peanut shells. It’s funny how a kid totally missed the miniskirts and focused on the decimation of peanut shells instead.

    Those PEANUTS:

    We’d go through about five large 50 lb. burlap bags of them each shift. I’d help collect those discarded shells with that gargantuan broom to work off the RED MAX HOT DOGS I’d scarf down in the loft and enjoyed so much. It’s funny also how a kid focused on earning hot dogs in favor of asking for an actual allowance. I remember asking dad to bring cases of those Red Max dogs home so mom could make them for my school lunches. Of course I loved the Beltbusters also, though I never ate the junior ones even though they were much more fitting of my size.

    All the wonder PEOPLE:

    While too young to have captured the names of the staff, I do remember some. PAT LEAL was my favorite waitress. Pat married DAVE WOLFGRAM, our General Manager. He was a personal favorite of my father. Before my dad’s death a decade ago, when he’d already lost the ability to speak, he pulled out a Christmas Card he’d received from Pat and Dave and pointed to their children and smiled. He loved them both. I think that’s all he was trying to say but couldn’t.

    NICK BARZELIS was JENNY LANDER’s brother’s son. He was also a wonderful man. The exceptional and charming JENNY LANDER was my grandma. Gosh, I miss her and Grandpa Gus… I also remember another manager STAN, and JIM ASTREEN (from Lander’s Chalet), and an entertaining waiter named STEVE all the girls loved. He was kind of a movie star type. There was a waitress named CAROL, and another bartender I thought was really cool – he looked liked Mike Collins of Apollo 11 Fame, but with a mustache and long side burns. He wore straight toed cowboy boots and a yellow oxford button down with the sleeve’s cuffed. I remember copying him at school, sans the facial hair. And there was the brilliant VIVIAN. She was a dark curly haired master bookkeeper known simply as “VY”, and her lovely and equally talented blonde haired counterpart was ANNA. There were two great girls named JUDY, and BARB, and there was WAYNE… Wayne was a chef from Thailand who was an expert martial artist… and expert chef… but as a kid I focused on the martial arts part because Kung Fu was on prime time TV. Gosh I’m sorry if you were part of the team and found this blog and I can’t remember your name. I was a five year old focused on hot dogs, burgers, and Kung Fu.

    The silly dog:

    There was a DOBERMAN PINCHER named ZEUS that was installed as an office night watchman after thieves acetylene torched their way into the safe one night. Zeus shared my penchant for the Red Maxes. As a young boy, I thought it was a good idea to hand him handfuls of the dark red wieners right out of the walk-in freezer. He thought it was a good idea too. Dad didn’t agree that the idea was a good one. He handed me that large broom again. Gosh, there were a lot of shells.

    HEDON PLACE….

    The business didn’t change hands in the mid seventies, although the real estate may have (that kinda stuff was beyond my Red Max pay grade then.) Beef N’ Barrel gave way to my father’s next Schaumburg creation known as “Hedon Place.”

    It was in the same building – a renovation that went from peanut shelled cement floors (a first at that time) to winding cobble stoned walkways through real ficus trees. Actually, each of the four sections of the pyramidal structure of the building featured a different type of setting: Gazebos and cobblestone walkways in the east room where red/white checkerboards were replaced by semi-silk table cloth, and those bulb shaped amber or red table candles were traded in for sleek white votives. The central section of the building became an evening dance floor when disco began to take hold as the singer/songwriter Lightfoot/McLean music waned. On Sundays, that central section became a salad bar and buffet. The upstairs loft became a pre-eighties/nineties romantic and dark night club type bar with couches. The west side of Hedon Place always retained the main floor bar, and somehow also retained the western theme. I guess the sun sets in the west… The red/white checkerboard tablecloths there morphed into thick tables in which chunks of fool’s gold and Gold Rush items were overlaid in two inches of acrylic. That side of Hedon Place was called the Comstock Load. The Southwest area of that room was cordoned off into yet another theme that was somehow art deco meets late seventies decor that was trying to find it’s way stylistically, as our hairstyles were then, soon to leave the Americana Western type fashion, and its long hair of the seventies, toward… no one was quite sure yet… but it would be cleaner somehow, tighter, if not gaudier at first. We were all awkward then. Maybe I’m just making excuses for that room. The centerpiece was a large glass mural lit from behind with an elegant deco, thin figured, flapper-dressed-bob-cutted woman. She curled around the two large letters “IF”. I remember dad excitedly pointing out to me the much smaller “L” and “E” bookending the ‘if’ and asking my young mind if I saw the meaning. I did. I didn’t really get his excitement till now though.

    Grandpa, Gus Lander, died around that time and the businesses were sold off to THE SNUGGERY and the motel at that time. Dad returned to his family’s roots in entertainment – from minature golf to his new focus on theme parks – around the time Six Flags Over America was taking shape. The two other Beef N’ Barrel restaurants in other townships were maintained a while longer until dad’s health declined. Mom and grandma dutifully managed them for a while.

    I’ve so much gratitude to find this post on Memorial Day and it was so enjoyable to read your contributions. I’m so sorry I can’t offer more adult recollections to stir your memories; I was just a kid feeding Zeus hot dogs and sweeping up shells. Gosh, I hope this makes just one person recall something, or someone, and smile. L-IF-E. I’m probably the only person alive now with that silly art deco backlit memory . Yes, I’m somehow excited.

    So on behalf of SAM BOZNOS, and GUS/JENNY & DENISE LANDER, I want to sincerely thank you all so much for enjoying time and ‘L-IF-E’ at the Schaumburg Beef N’ Barrel, Lander’s Chalet, and Hedon Place!

    Thank-you!

    Thanks JANE ROZEK for your stewardship!
    And thanks Schaumburg!

    Happy Memorial Day to you and yours,

    Dean Boznos

    • jrozek Says:

      Wow, Mr. Boznos, thank you so much for your detailed comments regarding the Beef N’ Barrel restaurant. And, thank you for your kind words regarding the blog posting.

      I do this blog with the hope that there will be some responses from those who experienced the history or who were active onlookers. I’m so glad you found the blog and were able to provide so many more details regarding the restaurants that your family began and ran. I love it that it is from the perspective of the seven-year-old you. (I have to say it is fascinating how much the peanuts played into the operation of the restaurant.)

      It seems like your family was good to their employees and that that kindness created longevity with their staff.

      If you have any memorabilia from those days that I can put on a blog posting, I’d be happy to do so. Did you see the other posting that had a scan of the menu? If not, you can read it here: https://ourlocalhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/roll-out-the-beef-n-barrel/

      Many thanks once again for sharing your memories and happiness with the blog posting.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library
      jrozek@stdl.org

      • Dean Boznos Says:

        Thanks, Jane.

        What a great service you are providing for the community! I do have some memorabilia and I’ll try to email them to you soon. Yes, I’ve seen the other blog and it was a treat to see that Beef N’ Barrel menu that I do not have. And yes, I looked through many of the other related blogs that have captured wonderful bits of Schaumburg that this old guy here had forgotten. Cheers to you and everyone who participated keeping our shared history alive and vivid.

        Thanks again!

        D.

      • Dean Boznos Says:

        Jane,

        Good Morning. Here are some items. It appears clarity failed me: I mentioned Lander’s Chalet in the blog, yet it is associated with the Elk Grove property. Here are some Schaumburg location items – the Schaumburg “Hedon Place” (Beef N’ Barrels 2nd iteration) menu may be of interest to you. The matchbook included has Elk Grove’s address, but was of the same design as the Schaumburg matches.

        For some reason my personal archive is thin on Schaumburg. Not sure why… I have some great memorabilia from the other iterations of Beef N’ Barrel and Lander’s (mainly Elk Grove and Downtown) and will send them in a separate email as to not muddy the waters further. Perhaps readers of the blog would find them interesting? Perhaps you have an Elk Grove contact/counterpart looking for such? Anyhow, since you are an archivist and historian, I’ll send them to your email just for your personal kicks. Wow, it’s certainly become a lost and almost foreign era – the fifties night club and its Sinatra dancing cheek to cheek in suits and pearls.

        Thanks,
        Dean

        Sent from Windows Mail

  9. Barb Marx Says:

    Dean, I learned that Nick Barzelis died some time ago. I remember his birthday was June 12 and cross referenced it that way. I had a crush on him but he was grieving over his girlfriend who had recently died. One of these days, I wll post the cowgirl outfit. I had a green one though there was always navy blue and red as well. I can’t fit into it anymore. I dolled it up back in the day by adding holsters with toy guns and galloped up to the tables in my section on one of those horseheads on a stick.

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