Our Company Mom
Since its founding in 1978 by brothers Larry and Mark Levy, Levy Restaurants has grown from a single delicatessen in Chicago to a specialized, industry-leading food organization with a network of internationally acclaimed restaurants; the leading market share of premium foodservice operations at sports and entertainment facilities; as well as a full-service consulting and advisory services group. The keeper of the Company's precious culture is Eadie Levy, mother of Larry and Mark, and resident Mom to almost 15,000 team members.
Her story is simple, but it's one filled with a passion for great food and a love for making people happy. When her two sons opened a delicatessen called D.B. Kaplan's in Chicago's Water Tower Place in 1978, they thought they had everything under control. That is, until their ambitious investment started to struggle a bit. Their rescue strategy?
They called their mother, Eadie. At the time, she was living in St. Louis and her cooking skills were considered a work-in-progress, being that she didn't even learn to cook until she was married. But as any mother would do, she came to the rescue of her two sons. Eadie moved to Chicago and immediately became involved in the deli operations, starting in the kitchen. Many of the recipes in the Levy Restaurants repertoire are Eadie's or her grandmothers, passed down from generation to generation. Eadie herself trained the staff on the preparation of the traditional Jewish menu items.
Her work with D.B. Kaplan's eventually lead to the creation of her namesake restaurant, Mrs. Levy's Delicatessen, located in Chicago's Sears Tower. Since 1986, Mrs. Levy's Deli has been one of the city's greatest delis, treating guests to authentic, New York-style sandwiches, homemade soups and old-fashioned soda fountain creations. After a few years behind the scenes, Eadie's desire to have more interaction with her guests grew, and she moved to the front of the house, where she remains today, meeting and greeting guests, most of whom she knows by name. This personal touch has made Eadie a celebrity in her own right. Photos of her posing with her favorite celebrities ñ everyone from local hero, Michael Jordan, to Hollywood stars Goldie Hawn and Steven Spielberg ñ adorn the walls of the deli. And in true Midwestern style, Eadie graciously obliges every request to have her picture taken and added to the growing "Wall of Fame."
These days, Eadie Levy, a grandmother and great-grandmother, still believes that despite her own success, her proudest accomplishment remains her sons' entrepreneurialism and creativity in making Levy Restaurants a successful company, full of genuinely nice people.