WICKER PARK — The Beachwood Inn’s replacement will be a tavern/restaurant hybrid that “pays homage to warm Southern hospitality,” according to a call for workers posted online by Pioneer Tavern Group.
Mark Domitrovich, owner of Pioneer Tavern Group, which also owns Frontier, Lottie’s Pub and The Pony Inn, did not respond to a request for comment on the new bar. According to the job listing, the menu at Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods draws its influence from New Orleans comfort food.
A Wicker Park watering hole since 1950, Beachwood Inn closed in June 2015. The space has been empty since then. An extensive remodeling added several windows to the Beach Avenue side of the corner building.
Though Pioneer Tavern Group has only owned Lottie’s Pub since 2002, the original proprietor of that pub, Lottie Zagorski, served as a mentor to the widowed owner of Beachwood Inn in the 1960s, according to Beachwood Inn’s former owners.
Leonard Stepien, who founded Beachwood Inn in 1950, was killed in an armed robbery inside the bar in November of 1963. The bar owner’s sons, Jim Stepien, and Bob Stepien, were just 13 and 3, respectively, at the time.
After Leonard’s death, his wife Lorraine ran the bar for 33 more years until she died in 1996, the Stepien sons said in 2015, during the bar’s final night of business.
“My mom wanted us to do anything but this. Running a bar is not easy, but it’s all I know,” Bob Stepien told DNAinfo.
The job listing for Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods says “its goal is to create an authentic Southern experience in an unpretentious and engaging environment that features a full service bar and both lunch and dinner service.”