The following statement was released by the owner’s of Anthony’s Restaurant and Pub following several recent high profile events involving the establishment.
“Recent events have led to the misrepresentation of Anthony’s Restaurant and Pub, a local family owned and operated business. Violent criminal behavior outside the business late at night has been unjustly attributed to the operation of the business itself, including a misguided association with previous occupants unrelated to current owners and management. Our hope is that this statement may offer a greater understanding of the ownership, our business model, and our longstanding commitment to the advancement of our community.
The father of our family, who many know as Samy, arrived in Joliet over 45 years ago. After many years of menial labor in a factory, he decided to take a risk by opening up a tiny neighborhood pub on Raynor St. called Sam’s Corner. Despite missing out on many of the milestones of his three sons due to the unyielding demands of entrepreneurship and self-employment, Samy enjoyed his plight to provide for his family, entertain his community, and ultimately achieve the American dream.
Fast forward approximately fifteen years, and our father envisioned a greater opportunity for his family when he purchased a plot of land outside of the Louis Joliet Mall and subsequently developed Samy’s Lounge, a sports bar. This endeavor was a further realization of his dream, as he had long since developed a great fondness for American sports and local professional teams. Nevertheless, after many years of late nights away from his family, Samy decided to step away from the business and instead lease the building to a tenant who chose to continue operations under the original banner. From 2001 until 2012, the business was wholly operated outside of the Hohlastos family and eventually evolved far from the original sports bar theme. Although largely ignored by the local media, this fact is readily verifiable with a simple inquiry of the Joliet Liquor Commission.
In 2013 the youngest of three sons, Anthony, seized the opportunity to take back the business and reclaim it for our family. Anthony’s incorporates a modern restaurant and sports pub, designed to provide something for the entire family in the same community that we have called home for decades. Anthony’s opened for business in December of 2014 along with an expansive menu, a newly created indoor/outdoor patio space, and a markedly revamped dining area. For those familiar with the previous occupant, the space was entirely unrecognizable, and this had been our goal from the onset.
Since our inception, Anthony’s has sought to foster the Joliet community by hosting charitable events and donating to numerous local organizations. We have been very blessed by the citizens of Joliet, many of whom have celebrated important milestones with us, and we are honored to have been supported so immensely.
Today, we are extremely troubled and saddened by the criminal elements of society that have carelessly sought to undermine our family business and the trust that we have fought so hard to cultivate with the local citizens. Over the past several months we have undertaken numerous steps to mitigate the risk that these reckless and uncivilized persons pose to law abiding individuals. Since February, security staffing has been increased to 12-14 employees per weekend night. In addition, security cameras were increased to a total of 30, a strict dress code was enfored, and an ID processing machine was utilized to identify and facilitate refusal of unauthorized entry of prior offenders. On most weekends a hired police officer was also present to assist with crowd control and mitigate risk of unruly behavior. To the dismay of our family and our employees, these efforts did not prevent the events that recently unfolded outside the doors of our establishment.
Without exception, the Hohlastos family and the employees of Anthony’s unequivocally condemn any and all unlawful behavior. While the local print and internet based media have sought to sensationalize the events at Anthony’s with headlines seeking to sell papers or encourage clicks, they have largely ignored the violence that plagues our city and the utter contempt and disrespect many have exhibited toward law enforcement. Instead of factual reportage, they have sought to disparage the name of lifelong residents who have reinvested in their community time and time again. Most recently, the media has resorted to unsubstantiated innuendo regarding undue political influence, which serves no purpose other than to undermine citizens’ trust in its government. Furthermore, the relentless pursuit to denigrate a family and destroy its business is unjustifiable and objectively supports the low regard that most Americans hold for the media.
Our promise to the local community is to continue to work towards a goal of providing a family friendly environment for our fellow citizens while cooperating with and supporting local government and law enforcement. We will retrain our focus to serve delicious food in generous portions at very reasonable prices. Meanwhile, we hope to remain your first choice for watching the big game, catching a few drinks with friends, or celebrating a special occasion. We sincerely hope that, out of this hardship, the result will be a better future for Anthony’s and the city we call home. Please support us in the upcoming weeks as we look to host charitable events and honor the many heroes of our community.”
The Hohlastos Family
It was in early August that the city of Joliet and Anthony’s announced that the bar and eatery will no longer allow live entertainment and will now close at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings instead of the previous time of 3:00 a.m.. The agreement was made after a shooting and stabbing that began at the restaurant on the morning of July 23rd. Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who also the city’s liquor commissioner, finalized the agreement after returning from vacation.