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George Gofis wants to open a bar with emphasis on gaming at the former Crossing Bar & Grill in Worth. (File photo)

George Gofis wants to open a bar with emphasis on gaming at the former Crossing Bar & Grill in Worth. (File photo)

New owner will not tolerate violence at Worth tavern where 2 died

By Joe Boyle

The owner of a new tavern in Worth said his business will not tolerate any misconduct that plagued the previous lounge where two men were shot and killed.

The incident took place in the early morning hours of Jan. 10 at the former Crossing Bar and Grill, 6959 W. 111th St. Another man was injured in the shooting melee.

Worth Mayor Mary Werner met with the owners of the bar two weeks later. After a frank discussion with the owners, it was decided the bar would permanently close.

Werner and other village officials had been receiving complaints about excessive noise and fights that allegedly were taking place inside and outside the Crossing Bar and Grill. Many postings were appearing on Facebook.

But the since the shootings, Werner has had long discussions with George Gofis, who wanted to open a tavern at the old Crossing Bar location with an emphasis in video gaming.

Gofis applied for a business license to open his new venture, Grand Lion, at the site where the Crossing Bar was located. Gofis has owned other businesses and was involved in a business at the same location before the Crossing Bar had opened.

“The unfortunate tragedy is something we should not tolerate,” Gofis said during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. “I will do everything in my power and our staff’s power to prevent anything like this. I call for zero tolerance.”

Werner and village trustees said they are willing to give Gofis and opportunity to change the negative image left by the Crossing Bar and Grill. They approved his request. However, some questions still remain about the new business.

“I want to change the operation,” Gofis said. “We don’t want it to be a nightclub. We want it to be a gaming operation.”

Police Chief Tim Denton said there were still some issues with the site, including a back door of the building in which patrons would come in and out. Denton would prefer that the back door be closed.

“We don’t need to discuss the incident that took place, but I will say that the back door is an issue,” Denton said.

Trustee Brad Urban said that perhaps the back door should be closed by 9 p.m. Gofis said he would seriously consider Denton and Urban’s suggestions. However, he did mention that if some people were having some success at gaming at the prescribed deadline that they be allowed to finish their game.

But one woman who lives south of the bar said that the back door is a problem

“I had a problem with the old owners,” the woman said. “George was not part of that. We would hear noise and the back door is an issue. There was so much drinking going on in the back. Many people would gather behind the building.

“I’m not opposed to another establishment going in there,” the woman continued. “And I have since talked to George. Since I have come here tonight and heard what they plan to do, I feel better. I think George will do something about it. I’m just judging everything on the old Crossing owners.”

Werner admitted that there were some problems with previous ownership.

“When you (the owners) move to Florida, it is pretty hard to manage the building,” Werner said. “George and I have discussed this since January. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised.”

Gofis said he would work with Denton to make this a safe place that people will want to go to.

“I want to keep open communication,” Gofis said. “I didn’t actually want to get back into this business. But due to the unfortunate circumstances, I am willing to run this business and make it work.”

Gofis added that he will close the back after 9 or 10 p.m. The back door will not be open after that, he said.

Remodeling will be taking place at the Grand Lion. Gofis said he still has to apply for his gaming license so the new business will not open for some time.

Werner mentioned that Boy Scout Troop 668 will hold their pancake breakfast until noon Saturday, May 21 at St. Mark Lutheran Evangelical Lutheran Church, 11007 S. 76th Avenue, Worth.

The annual Memorial Day observance will be held Sunday, May 22, at the eternal flame monument, 111th and Harlem. Residents are invited to stop by the North Palos Fire Protection District, 7112 W. 111th St., at 10 a.m. for some doughnuts and coffee. The Memorial Day observance will follow at 11 a.m.

Werner also appointed Denise Filan as the adjudication hearing officer. Her term will expire on April 30, 2023.

Another business license was granted for Crazy Hair Cut Inc., 11519 S. Harlem Ave., Owner Qasem El Qamsat said the haircuts are more geared for youths.

Werner also gave a proclamation announcing that National Safe Boating Week will take place from May 21 through May 27.

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