Rumors swirled earlier this month when Casey's Pub shuttered, but as of Monday the restaurant has reopened. Such a brief reprieve raised all sorts of questions. Why did the restaurant close in the first place? Who's in charge now? What will be different this time around? Eater spoke today with Andrea Relken, general manager at Casey's to figure out exactly what is going on here.
For those who may be less familiar with Casey's Pub, the Corktown restaurant opened in 1983 on Michigan Avenue under Ed Powers, a retired firefighter. Powers ran the pub faithfully for more than 30 years, serving a loyal clientele of fellow firemen, as well as a few baseball players and plenty of locals. During that time, Casey's didn't evolve much, but the Corktown neighborhood did, drawing in younger crowds with different tastes. For 30 years, Casey's served the same daily menu, even as sales began to drop. "We closed down because we just weren't doing well," Relken, the daughter of Ed Powers, tells Eater.
However, during the week after Casey's closure, Powers had time to ruminate on his decision. After some thought and several lengthy conversations with his daughter, Powers decided to give Casey's another try, albeit, with a few changes. "He just wasn't ready to let it go yet," Relken says.
While the décor is the same, Casey's menu and staff have been revamped. During the closure, the restaurant's longtime cook retired. Likewise, Relken says she hired several new bartenders and added to the kitchen staff who help with prepping the company's revitalized menu which features hand-cut French fries. Since reopening, she says the restaurant has gone through approximately 50 pounds of the fries daily.
In addition to the fries, Relken has introduced a Sloppy Jose, a riff on the restaurant's Sloppy Joe special. The Sloppy Jose features chorizo for an added kick. Relken is now also cooking up her own homemade beef gravy, which is an option for pouring over fries (think poutine minus the cheese curds).
Still, some things will never change. The classic Casey Burger is still the same 1/2 pounder of Angus beef with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle. Although, for a dollar less, customers can order a 1/3 pound patty.