Ed n Joes in Tinley Park must have the magic secret to survival. February 6, 2021 marks their celebration of 60 years in business! Six decades is truly an extraordinary feat in the trendy world of food and wine. Recent research shows the average life of a new restaurant at about 4.5 years. Other articles suggest a 60% failure rate in the first year alone. Amid such data, however, Ed n Joes has stood the test of time. They opened in 1961 – JFK was president, before the escalation of Vietnam, before cell phones, before Windows software. The Beatles were invading. Ed Sullivan had “really good shows.” We had Tang to go with your Wheaties in the morning and at night, Little Joe and Hoss Cartwright. Shake and Bake for Sunday chicken and Etch a Sketch was hot on the market.
Jump ahead 60 years and Ed n Joes has managed to rise to all occasions, meeting the challenges and changing with the times.
Imagine Tinley Park in 1961. There were only 2 other places in town serving pizza: Venuso’s and Teehan’s. Ed Clark had recently moved to Tinley (1955), built a house in Parkside on Maple Lane, and with four children to support, needed another source of income. He worked for Illinois Bell, and in his spare time, ran a modest television repair shop out of his basement. On a whim, he took a side job at Joe and Dick’s Pizza Ranch in Worth, where he soon found a passion for artisan dough, tasty hand-made sausage, amazing sauce, freshly grated cheese all coming together in a single deck oven at 450 degrees.
Soon enough, Ed and, eventually all seven children could be found mixing sausage, rolling dough, whisking sauce, and passing beautifully crafted pies through a carry-out window next to Funk’s Tavern. The original menu featured Fried Shrimp, A Fried Chicken, Ocean Perch, A Ribeye Sandwich, and a “soon to be famous” Italian Beef sandwich – regular or Lehman size. They were open 5 pm to Midnight and operated right from the beginning, with Ed’s simple mission that included: “any food that went out had to be perfect…if you wouldn’t eat it why would you serve it?”
The current owners/operators are Michael and Ellen Clark. Michael recalls his father asking him if he was ready to take over and own the business, right out of high school in 1976. Michael needed some growing time to consider the offer, and accepted soon after, in 1978 at the age of 19.
Having recently won the TPCC Business of the Year Award, Ed n Joes continues to thrive. Ask Michael and Ellen today: Why the Longevity? How did this last 60 Years?
“We were not afraid to change when it was time to change. We found ways to grow with the trends. We learned how to manage effective marketing. We believe in our staff and provide a fun and prosperous culture. Just recently two of our staff retired after more than 20 years with us! We have the best customers in the world!” Stay tuned for many specials, all year long, as the celebration continues!