A sister and brother team with deep roots in the restaurant industry are planning to bring a “social-style” pub featuring Midwestern craft beers and old-school videogames to downtown Brookfield this fall in the recently vacated spot at 3747 Grand Blvd.
On July 24, the Brookfield Village Board approved creating a liquor license for the new business, Little Owl, which will be operated by Loukia and Stathi Giafis, who come from a family of restaurateurs.
Their grandfather, a bus driver, got into the business with his brothers after coming to the U.S, and their parents, both Greek immigrants, also embraced the restaurant business.
“We’re the third generation going into the business,” said Loukia, who works in marketing. “Restaurants have always been in the family.”
Stathi, meanwhile, has been managing his parent’s restaurant, a breakfast diner in Bloomingdale, for the past six or seven years. He’ll handle the day-to-day operations of Little Owl, Loukia said.
“We started talking about this about a year and a half ago,” Loukia said. “I know it’s a crazy industry, but we both kind of love it.”
The pair knew they wanted to find a space for Little Owl near a Metra line, and had been having little luck finding a place in Chicago. Loukia bought a home in Brookfield two years ago, and said she was driving home after striking out on another location in the city when she saw an opportunity in her home town.
“We were driving back from a place in the city, very discouraged, when we drove past the Sanctuary [formerly at 3747 Grand Blvd.] and there was a ‘for rent’ sign up,” Loukia said. “We were inside the next day. Fate fell into our hands.”
The storefront was extensively remodeled prior to the opening of the Sanctuary not too many years ago, so work on the interior is mainly cosmetic, Loukia said. After obtaining their liquor license, she said Little Owl could be ready to open its doors within two months.
Loukia said Little Owl will focus on craft beer that comes from Midwest along with bar food that she described as “new spins on American classics.”
“We’d like to stay as local as possible with the craft beers,” Loukia said. “We want to really, truly be a Midwestern bar.”
They’re aiming for a place that’s family-friendly and will become “a place where we can interact with patrons to create a social community.”
One quirky feature of Little Owl will be classic 1980s and 1990s arcade games. Loukia said she dislikes the video gambling machines that have become so prevalent.
“Arcade games are a good way to be family-friendly but have entertainment,” said Loukia, who added she and her brother became “videogame fanatics” while their parents owned a hot dog stand that had old-school arcade games.
“It just stuck with us,” she said. “You don’t see it too often.”
Loukia said that the bar may feature live music a couple of times a month. It’s liquor license also allows carry-out alcohol sales.