Brown's Chicken & Pasta
|Headquarters||Villa Park, Illinois, United States|
The chain traces its origins to 1949, when John and Belva Brown opened a restaurant in Bridgeview, Illinois. Brown's expanded to many locations throughout the United States in the 1970s. In the 1980s, pasta was added to the menu and eventually the name of the company. In the 1990s, a traditional grill named "The Chicago Way" was added to all Brown's restaurants. After 2005, the company contracted their locations to exclusively within the Chicago metropolitan area. Former company president Frank Portillo is the brother of Dick Portillo, founder and former owner of The Portillo Restaurant Group, which was sold to Berkshire Partners in 2014.
Brown's Chicken massacre
On January 8, 1993, the event that would become infamous as the Brown's Chicken massacre occurred at a Palatine, Illinois, branch. Seven people were murdered, including both owners and 5 employees, all of whom were found bound in the walk-in freezer. In 2002, James Degorski and Juan Luna were arrested for the murders. In May 2007, Luna was convicted of his part in the murders and sentenced to life imprisonment. On September 28, 2009, James Degorski was found guilty of the murders.
The Palatine branch never reopened after the massacre took place, although a new Brown's had opened less than a mile east of the former Brown's three years after the massacre. During the late 1990s, numerous businesses tried to use the site but failed and soon went out of business. The site has since been demolished. For years, it was an extension of the surrounding parking lot until a Chase bank was built on the site in 2009.
The massacre had an adverse effect on the entire Brown's Chicken chain. Sales at all restaurants dropped 35 percent within months of the incident, and the company eventually had to close 100 restaurants in the Chicago area.
- Stacy St. Clair. "Second Brown's Chicken murder trial will start in February". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Guilty Verdict in Brown's Chicken Trial
- Pohl, Kimberley (2009-10-20). "Former Brown's Chicken site to become Chase Bank". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- Hussain, Rummana (2009-08-10). "After Brown's Chicken massacre: 'No one came'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
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