“I couldn’t be happier. They’re certainly a terrific restaurant and a welcome addition to the village,” Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld said. “I look forward to breaking bread there. Who could turn down shrimp and grits?”
The Maple Tree Inn website boasts accolades including being named one of the best 50 southern restaurants in America by Open Table, one of the top 10 bars with food in Chicago by Serious Eats, one of the top 50 craft beer bars in America by craftbeer.com, one of the 10 best places for southern and soul food in Chicago by Thrillist and several glowing reviews.
“We now have a home in the Homewood Flossmoor community and a big grassy yard for our dogs, who lived above the (Blue Island) restaurant with us,” Erich Wennberg, who owns the restaurant with his wife Katie, said via email. “The synergy and karma kept building as we considered how to retain our staff that lives in the area, our existing patrons and the new friends we gain from the solid following The Cottage enjoyed all these years. We so respected and identified with The Cottage’s commitment to excellence.”
A January 2020 opening is possible but not definite. The scope and type of renovations necessary aren’t yet known.
“The bones of the building are great and the other features like the patio and the green house are so charming we can’t wait to envelope those into our bigger vision that says Maple Tree Inn,” Erich Wennberg said. “From a functional standpoint, we won’t know for a while what we need for the staff to move fluidly through the dining space and operate artistically behind the bar and in the cooking areas. While it’s not a clean slate to begin with, it won’t have the Maple Tree Inn ambiance until we test it out.”
“The Maple Tree Inn has gone now from Western Avenue in Beverly/Morgan Park to Olde Western Avenue in Blue Island and now to Homewood Flossmoor’s Dixie Highway, which essentially means all paths to the Maple Tree Inn go through one of the greatest street in the country — Western Avenue,” Erich Wennberg said.