1964 to 1985 – The Tradition Begins
Fishermen’s Inn is nearly 50 years old and is rich with history. Known for being a dining, banquet and wedding destination for not only the south and west suburbs but also the entire Chicago region, Fishermen’s Inn became a tradition for many when celebrating life’s special events. Orville Mercer and his family started Fishermen’s Inn at 43W901 Main Street Road, Elburn, Illinois in 1964, in a renovated barn built in 1898. The Mercers lived in a house across the street.
In 1972, the Mercers sold Fishermen’s Inn to Ralph and Anne Schleifer, a local family from Kaneville, IL. The Schleifers later built a home in the woods behind Fisherman’s Inn. The couple broke ground in June 1985 for a new banquet facility seating 200 to complement Fishermen’s Inn’s barn restaurant.
1985 – 2009 The Transition Years
A fire caused $1.4 million in damage to Fishermen’s Inn in October 1985. The blaze took firefighters nearly 24hours to extinguish, burned the barn beyond repair and caused extensive smoke and water damage to the new banquet facility. As a result, the restaurant closed. In fall of 1986, Fishermen’s Inn reopened, after a new barn was built and damage to the banquet facility was repaired during the summer. Following Ralph Schleifer’s death in 2005, Fishermen’s Inn was turned over to a trust at Old Second Bank, which named a restaurant employee as president of the business. Fishermen’s Inn closed December 21, 2009.
2012 – The New Fishermen’s Inn
In 2012 Fishermen’s Inn was purchased and has undergone a complete renovation. The new owners have taken a unique approach to renovating the inside and outside of the property to not only bring back its former charm, but to modernize the experience for every guest. Their vision for Fishermen’s Inn is making it “the” place for gatherings by offering a setting and services that will provide lifetime memories – as it did in the past.
Commitment to Conservation
The new owners of Fishermen’s Inn feel it is important to stress that their vision in restoring the Inn was twofold; to bring back the wonderful glory to a historic gathering destination and to provide great food, unparalleled service and memories for generations to come. Their other passion for this property is our commitment to land and wildlife conservation. With the natural spring fed lakes and the surrounding trees, Fishermen’s Inn is a unique setting allowing us to offer guests the natural beauty of the land and water by working to preserve the pristine nature through best-use land management and conservation efforts. We look forward to sharing the contribution this property offers to conservation.