Flap-jacks restaurant has been a popular breakfast and lunch destination in Oak Lawn since it opened in 1995 at 111th and Cicero Avenue, and many feared it would be lost when the redevelopment of the commercial property it was located on necessitated a move.
However, the owners, brothers Nick and George Stamos, were adamant about staying in Oak Lawn, where they have lived since the 1970s, and were able to find a new spot in the corner of another shopping strip at 4710 W. 95th St.
“We opened in August 2014, and business has been great. It has been great due to the support of the community,” said Nick Stamos. “You should see this place on Saturdays and Sundays.” The restaurant known for its pancakes and omelettes, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. George Stamos is credited with creating the restaurant’s five homemade batters, seven homemade syrups and toppings.
“We’re on a busy corner (just east of Cicero Avenue) — we might be in a quieter corner, but we like this spot,” said Stamos. “Of course, we would have liked to stay where we were too,” he added with a smile.
He was reluctant to move from the original location, and the village ended up giving the owners $2.3 million in compensation for having to move out of the TIF district.
“Coopers Hawk restaurant is now where we were located,” Stamos noted.
He said the new location, formerly the site of the Top Notch restaurant, required a lot of updating and rehabbing, but “we were lucky to find this. Suitable spaces for restaurants are hard to find in Oak Lawn.”
“We spent seven months working on it, but I enjoyed it. The only thing left of the old Top-Notch is the floor,” he said.
“We’re very thankful to Mayor Sandra Bury and the other village officials who helped us,” he said.
“If we were older, maybe in our 70s, we would have considered retiring. But we’re in our 50s, and we wanted to keep working,” said Stamos, who just got married in August.
“Because the community has been good to us, we want to give back to the community,” said Stamos, explaining why the restaurant holds regular fundraisers for Park Lawn, a social service agency serving people with intellectual and development disabilities.
Flap-Jacks also serves as a drop-off point for donations for Toys for Tots.
The original Flap-Jacks was located about a block from the Park Lawn site at 5040 W. 111th St.
“Over the years, we’ve developed a great friendship with them,” he said. “Several times a year, on Saturdays, we hold fundraisers in which 10 percent of each bill is donated to Park Lawn,” said Stamos, pointing out that the next fundraiser will be on Dec. 19.
“And it is not just the money we bring in, we contribute our own money, too,” he added. “I think Park Lawn does great work. The people it serves would be lost without it.”
He said the restaurant recently hired a client of Park Lawn as a bus girl. “She does a great job, and it is good for her to be able work and earn a paycheck,” he said.
Stamos said that while business has been good, they probably have lost some former customers who lost track of where they moved or what happened to them.
“A lot of our business comes by word of mouth,” said Stamos, admitting he doesn’t use rely much on advertising or social media. “We let the food speak for itself.”