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Meet Jessica Mack of Mack’s Golden Pheasant Restaurant in Elmhurst

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Mack.

Jessica, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am the fourth generation of ownership at Mack’s Golden Pheasant Restaurant. My Great Grandparents Frank and Mae Mack came to Elmhurst from the Czech Republic in 1948. They decided to turn a one room tavern into a full service lounge and restaurant. They converted the small building on the corner of North Avenue and Route 83 into a Czech-Austrian inspired chalet. Complete with deep, low hanging eaves and Germanic woodwork, it became an architectural connection to their youth. The name Golden Pheasant was inspired by, my great grandfather, Frank Mack’s love of exotic birds. The dining room is home to an original menagerie of stuffed fowl created by famed Field Museum taxidermist Julius Fressier.

The Golden Pheasant’s historic legacy is carried on today by my father, Steve Mack along with my talented mom Debra, my brother Luke, and me. Today, we are the proud to be the oldest continuously owned restaurant in DuPage County and one of the most successful. We make sure to adapt to the times while staying connected with our past by focusing on creating and serving quality food and cocktails. Today’s scratch kitchen trend is something we have always practiced since our conception in 1948.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The main struggle that we’ve incurred was the loss of my grandfather in 1981 at the young age of 49. My parents were forced to take over the restaurant at the tender age of 21. There have also been some natural disasters. A fire in 1962 destroyed much of the building sparing only the north balcony. My great grandfather Frank and his son Donald rebuilt Mack’s into its proud, present form. We had another brush with flames, and also weathered the massive Elmhurst flood of 1987. Yet the building stands as sturdy as the 200 year old oak tree in the beautiful back garden. This garden bears the fingerprints and careful planning of my great grandmother Mae Mack.

Please tell us about Mack’s Golden Pheasant Restaurant.
We are known for our great homemade food including: Weiner Schnitzel, Breaded Pork Tenderloin, Prime Rib, Roasted Duck, Barry Burgers, Roasted Pork and Sandwiches, our legendary lounge, and our neighborhood vibe.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Made some structural changes that are more current to today being that our building is from 1948.

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20 Comments

  1. MickeyDe

    September 26, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Great Family! Great Food! Jessica is doing a great job! We feel like family when we come there! Thanks for all you do! Continued Success!

  2. Cindy Fuller

    September 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Proud to know and have worked for this amazing family, back in the early to late 80’s. So glad to see they are still running strong and carrying on traditions. Way to go, Mack Family. <3

  3. Mik McAuley

    September 26, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    This truely an exceptional dinning experience.

  4. Chuck Dvorak

    September 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    I have been a customer since 1973 and became a friend. Mack’s has been my go-to place and also for many all of my friends. The great food and atmosphere keeps bringing us back

  5. Karen Wamsley

    September 26, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Many memories of Mae and all the Macks. My mom and brother (Nancy Wagner and Paul Wagner) worked there with the crew , Evie was the cook, waitresses Rosie,Pat Mack, Marie all were friends of my mom. Mom would cut Mae’s hair and she would always pay me a dollar as my tip😃 Being only seven that meant alot! I would go and fold their white napkins while Mom worked lunches. The Macks owed horses and Pat wanted my mom to dye one of the horses mane and tail…she didn’t! Love the Golden Pheasant!

  6. William Morgan

    September 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Been there several times gets better and better Debbie anc Steve are gracious hosts

  7. Kyle bederka

    September 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Everytime i go back to chicago i always stop by macks to see steve and jess. Great atmosphere and excellent food. I even had my wedding reception there in 09. I love macks golden pheasant. Thanks for all the good time steve and jess

    Kyle bederka

  8. Laura Schwarz

    September 26, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    This place is a gem that I am happy to know well, as did generations of my family before me. I am proud to know this family and have always been welcomed with open arms. If you have not visited you are truly missing out.

  9. Gina Woods

    September 26, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Great interview- congrats!

  10. Philip mcFarland

    September 27, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Very soon I’ll try the roast duck!

  11. Lisa Guarino

    September 27, 2017 at 2:45 am

    Great Friday fish fry I’m always comfy there
    And love the back window view

  12. Laura Pacheco

    September 27, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Always loved going for the food and the late night music. I live in Florida now but whenever I am in town I pop in to eat and have a drink.

  13. Betty

    September 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I recall this place being called “Montana Charlie’s” in the 60’s. My parents took us there for dinner sometimes.

    • Betty

      September 28, 2017 at 1:44 am

      Have been reminded that Montana Charlie’s was located next door to the Pheasant. My memory not as good as I had hoped!

  14. Steve

    September 27, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Great atmosphere to relax, have a good meal and enjoy a drink. Steve knows his customers and welcomes them in. A hard working family that makes you feel at home.

  15. Joyce Doyle

    September 27, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    The food and the staff are wonderful and sitting in the lounge area with the legendary Steve Mack makes this restaurant awesome!

  16. Trish Bohacz

    September 28, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Nice job Jessica! This restaurant gives you a 5 star experience each time you go whether you are with your family or with a great group of friends. Food and service are excellent!

  17. Patty & Jim

    September 29, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Congratulations on your family’s success! Mack’s Golden Pheasant… our favorite place to go! Awesome food…great drinks… and a spectacular family and staff… that treats their guests as a part of their family!

  18. Garry & Susie D.

    November 16, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Macks is a great dining spot with wonderful food and great service. Steve, Debbie, Luke and Jessica make everyone feel at home. We have been going there for over 30 years and never been disappointed. You have to try the Sunday Brunch…outstanding!

  19. Christopher C Wells

    December 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Steve, congrats on success! From early 70’s Chris Wells. Wondering how Bill Slevin doing, Wendy and Gary. Long way from Jim Lendmann’s style- more professional. Merry Christmas

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