Maple Tree Inn Disaster Relief Fund

As many of you know, in the early morning hours of Friday, August 24th, the Maple Tree Inn suffered a devastating fire. We awoke to flames engulfing the entire building and had mere seconds to escape our apartment above. We are lucky to be alive, and are fully indebted to the nearly 80 firefighters from over 15 neighboring communities who worked bravely and tirelessly to extinguish the fire. In the midst of the chaos and shock, we issued the following press statement:

“The Maple Tree Inn has had multiple, successful chapters and there will be many more. Our team of employees is one of the best ever assembled in our 43 years of business and we will rebuild around them.”

What we didn’t know, at the time, was the catastrophic extent of the damage. The fact is, the Maple Tree Inn will have to be torn down, in its entirety. The century-old building will have to be demolished in a few weeks’ time.

What we have realized, however, is that the Maple Tree Inn does not exist within four walls. It exists in us, our employees, and, most importantly, you—our customers—many of whom we call family and friends.

Over the years, the relationships we have built with you and the community have been some of the best and most rewarding of our lives. The relationships we have built with our employees are equally as strong. Our employees, in particular, have shown an unwavering level of support that is unprecedented in this industry. Our core staff has vowed to stay will us through the rebuilding process. Because of this, we feel it necessary to highlight a few of them, in particular:

Emily Bohn - “Maple Tree Inn for life.” (Bar Manager, 12 years)

Aziel Esparza - “We are not just a restaurant, we are a family.” (Lead Server, 13 years)

Mark Smith - “I know what the Maple Tree Inn represents, and this is where I want to be.” (Head Chef, 9 years)

Mike Downs - “Food is something that connects us to one another as people. I’ve never seen the life of a chef as a career, really, but rather a responsibility. A responsibility to connect. “ (Sous Chef, 3 years)

Morgan Gansauer - “After over 20 years in this industry, I have found a home with the Maple Tree staff and with the Olde Western family.” (Manager, 3 years)

Right now, we are asking for your help. The tremendous amount of property damage extends well beyond the business insurance limits and the uninsured losses are monumental. We are certain, that with your help, we can and will rebuild.

In the years to come, we will do our absolute best to repay the kindness so many of you have shown us during what is the most difficult time in our lives. We can promise you the same outstanding food, service, and hospitality you have come to expect from the Maple Tree Inn.

Like the great city of New Orleans, WE WILL REBUILD. #mapletreestrong

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Katie & Erich Wennberg
Blue Island, IL

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