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posted: 12/4/2016 1:00 AM

Kukec People: Former musician from Mount Prospect finds niche as restauranteur

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  • Richard Schweigel, with wife Penny Schweigel, of Mount Prospect are owners of Mother Cluckers restaurant in Chicago. They are looking to add a suburban location.

    Richard Schweigel, with wife Penny Schweigel, of Mount Prospect are owners of Mother Cluckers restaurant in Chicago. They are looking to add a suburban location.
    Courtesy of Mother Cluckers

  • Richard Schweigel, right, with son Tim of Mount Prospect run Mother Cluckers restaurant in Chicago.

    Richard Schweigel, right, with son Tim of Mount Prospect run Mother Cluckers restaurant in Chicago.
    COURTESY OF MOTHER CLUCKERS

  • Earl J. Barnes II

    Earl J. Barnes II

  • Elwood Richard

    Elwood Richard

  • Lea Marcou

    Lea Marcou

 

About two years ago, Mount Prospect resident Richard Schweigel and his wife Penny opened Mother Cluckers, a restaurant in Chicago specializing in chicken dishes from family recipes, including those from a relative of the famous Hatfield-and-McCoy feud.

The restaurant has been so accepted by the surrounding neighborhoods, that they are looking to open a second location in the suburbs. Whether that second location will sport photos of Schweigel in his previous career as a musician, along with the band his father started, is still unknown. But Schweigel enjoys paying homage to that part of his life for one reason: his dad.

"Everything I've done is because of my dad," said Schweigel, 55.

The younger Schweigel started at 12 in his father's band, the Keytones, and continued through his late 20s. While the group performed some traditional Polish and American songs, especially at weddings, it later became more Americanized.

Schweigel, who played saxophone and guitar and sang, took over the band in the 1980s. He then changed the group's name to Impulse, which continued to play until about 2003. They performed throughout the region at corporate parties, the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort, and, of course, at weddings.

"But I got tired of the wedding scene," he said.

So he started performing as a freelance musician for a few more years.

In the meantime, whenever their family entertained at home, friends and relatives bragged about their cooking. He had many family recipes, including the bread pudding recipe from his great grandmother, Melissa Hatfield of the famous Hatfield-and-McCoys feud.

With some of those recipes in hand, Schweigel began eyeing some properties in areas he had traveled during his band days, including a triangle-shaped property at Elston and Foster, which he ultimately renovated and opened. There are no TVs, only music provided inside the restaurant.

His wife, Penny, and son, Tim, both work with him at Mother Cluckers and he hopes to one day hand down the restaurant to his son, he said.

"It's definitely a lot more work than I expected, but it's been going well," he said. "It's nothing fancy, but it's a good place with good food."

He said he doesn't want to be an absentee owner and works on site. He enjoys talking with the customers and learning what they want.

"I really enjoy being around people and really enjoy their smiles when they enjoy the food," he said.

FastTracks

•Earl J. Barnes II, will become the new senior vice president and general counsel on Jan. 9 at Advocate Health Care. He will be responsible for the direction and management of the legal and compliance functions to protect Advocate's interests while overseeing various transactions to support the organization's growth. He previously served as senior vice president and general counsel at OhioHealth Corporation in Columbus. He is expected to live in Barrington with his wife and two children.

•Elwood Richard, owner of Now Foods and Lombard-based Fruitful Yield stores, plans to open a new store in Elmhurst in January. It already has 13 natural food stores, including those in Aurora, Batavia, Bloomingdale, Naperville, Schaumburg and South Elgin, and plans to expand with one to three stores per year.

•Doctors Elizabeth Clark and Susanne Woloson, practicing vascular surgeons at 1614 Central Ave., Suite 100 in Arlington Heights have expanded their practice to 900 Technology Way, Suite 230 in Libertyville.

•Kim Stover, owner of Dance It Off With Kim, a dance fitness studio in Elgin for eight years, has relocated to a larger headquarters at 730 B W. Chicago St. at the Integrity School of Dance in Oak Tree Plaza in Elgin.

•Lea Marcou community association manager for Associa Chicagoland in Rolling Meadows, has received the Rising Star Award at the Community Associations Institute-Illinois Chapter's 25th annual Excellence Awards and Winter Gala.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people who make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.