Bar and grill owner discusses success: Q & A with Laurie Chavez

Ann Knef Dec. 9, 2004, 10:05am

Laurie Chavez, the personable proprietor of Edwardsville's Laurie's Place--a friendly downtown eatery and watering hole--talks to the MCR about the secrets of her success. Laurie's Place is located at 228 N. Main.

What is the most intriguing aspect of running an eating/drinking establishment on Main Street in Edwardsville?

I don’t know about intriguing, but the best aspect would have to be the return of my customer base day after day, year after year! They are what makes Laurie’s Place what it is.

Downtown Edwardsville is dotted with an assortment of eclectic businesses. What kind of flavor does Laurie’s Place add to the mix?

Two diverse places to hang out. My front bar and grill is more laid back with music on Wednesday and our four-year-strong jam session on Saturday afternoons.

My back bar is more sports-oriented with pool tables, dart boards, fooseball and TVs, including a big screen. Our Super Bowl party really kicks!

We have music on Friday and Saturday nights. You can get the same food and daily specials at both locations. From spring to fall our curbside dining is always packed.

And another thing, we have a great mix of people—all age groups, all occupations.

You’ve been in business eight years, what is the key to your longevity?

I started with just the back bar and five-and-a-half years ago added the front bar and grill. You want to run your establishment in a way that makes you proud! The test is, if it were somewhere else, would I go there?

Being personable with my customers and having good employees—which I do—helps bring people back.

How would you characterize your contribution to the commerce of downtown?

I bring in business from all over the Metro-East area, as well as some St. Louis communities. I also sponsor teams: three softball, two basketball, two dart, two pool and one golf.

I believe I have brought people back to the downtown area.

What’s the most popular item on your menu?

Naming one is rather difficult. But I would have to put my Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich on top. We’ve had customers from the eastern states that say ours is just a baby step away from beating theirs! And our Mexican White Cheese Appetizer is awesome. Just ask anyone!

Are you proud to be a neighbor of the nationally renowned Madison County Record?

Well, of course!!

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