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On the Go (Archive)

The Flame steakhouse to close after half century as Countryside dining destination

Countryside, Ill.

The light is about to go out at The Flame, a steakhouse icon in Countryside since the Fifties. Its doors will close after New Year’s Eve, precipitated by the recent death of its owner, Nanci Makris of Indian Head Park.

Her goddaughter, Traci Moran of Berwyn, told Suburban Life the news on Tuesday.

“I have been going to The Flame for my entire life, and, sadly, not only have we lost a wonderful, giving woman, we have suffered the death of the restaurant, as well,” Moran says. “There are not many establishments left that compare to the old-fashioned, dress-your-children-up and have-a-Manhattan type of establishment The Flame is. All of those who have held Nanci and the restaurant dear to us — and there are many — are grief-stricken at the double loss. Sadly, the doors will close on the first day of the new year, ending an era.”

The closure will affect 48 employees, says Flame staff member Joann Murphy.

“It’s very tragic,” Murphy says. “We lost a very close, wonderful friend. … That’s what really hurts.”

Everyone planning future events at the restaurant, which also offered banquet services, has been notified, Murphy adds.

Moran’s brother, Jeffery Johnson of Berwyn, has been a server for more than 15 years at The Flame, which featured live entertainment.

“Whole generations of families have celebrated and mourned (at The Flame over the decades),” Johnson says. “Some (employees) have been working there for 40 years. Everybody’s saddened by the loss of Nanci.”

The Flame was one of several founded by her late father, Peter Makris, a restaurateur in Illinois and Florida. The Countryside location at 803 Joliet Road was the sole Flame remaining, says Johnson, adding, “The area will be losing (a) place that’s had such a connection to so many people’s lives.”

For reservations, call (708) 352-3442. Visit www.theflame.comwww.theflame.com

Learn about The Flame
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