Pat's Pizza was a traditional spot to go in Grayslake, for families enjoying a night out, sports teams celebrating their season or couples on first dates. It is the end of an era as Pat's closed its doors this week.
"It was a fairly sudden decision," said owner Pat Harris. "We've been in business for 31 years. But now there is so much competition that the business just shrinks."
One thing Harris never added to the restaurant over the years was a bar. He feels that hurt his business.
"I couldn't compete without a bar, but I never wanted a bar," he said. "I wanted a family place."
And that's what Pat's Pizza was. Customers could eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor, and look through the funny pictures from old Grayslake yearbooks on the tabletops and play classic video games in the game room.
"I love the people who worked for me and all my customers, those are what I will miss the most," Harris said.
He praised Karen Weinert who had worked with him for 21 years.
"She brought so much energy, passion and intelligence to our business, she was an absolute delight to work with," Harris said.
He stressed that his employees had to be good with customers, or they didn't make it at Pat's.
"Customer service was number one with us," he said. "We tried to put out the best product with the best ingredients because I wanted the customer to have the best. if they wanted cheap, they could go somewhere else."
He said he was sad to let the business go.
"Throughout the 31 years, I gave it my best," said Harris, who lives in Salem, Wis. with his wife De Ann.
Harris thanked his wife for her support with the business and also wanted to thank his customers.
"All of my customers have been absolutely wonderful," he said. "I have no regrets. Except for the idea that I didn't do what I needed to do to keep up with the times. I would like to thank all of our customers and the community for supporting us all of these years. It was never taken for granted."
What's next for Harris?
"I have to go find a job somewhere," he said.
Read More on Patch:
- Pat's Pizza Closes After 31 Years
- Letter to the Editor: Thank You, Pat's Pizza
- Memories From Pat's Pizza
- Letter to the Editor: Life Lessons from Pat's Pizza
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