When veteran bar owner Joe Kenny went in search of an establishment to purchase, he knew what he was looking for and The Cordial Inn , 9207 31st St., Brookfield, proved to be the perfect fit. After months of negotiation, Kenny and his business partner, Ronnie Milchhoefer, took over ownership of the long-standing neighborhood bar on Aug. 1.

Kenny spent months visiting The Cordial Inn in advance of the purchase — he was attracted to the robust number of regular customers and longtime loyal staff members. He qualified it as a place that catered to people from all walks of life where anyone could feel comfortable.

Kenny brings 25 years of experience to the new endeavor including 22 years owning and operating Finley Dunne’s in Chicago. Milchhoefer was the proprietor of R Place in Forest Park for 16 years before selling the building and closing the bar in January 2020. Though both men left the business behind, they missed the people who made up their regular clientele and the sense of community that came along with owning a bar. Looking to re-enter the hospitality industry, the two teamed up to purchase The Cordial Inn from the Volpe family who had owned the watering hole since at least 1965. In the 1940’s The Cordial Inn was owned by Frank Kvasnicka before being sold to the Volpe family.

“This is a legacy business that had been owned by one family for a long time,” said Kenny. “They were no longer living in the area and our ownership will allow new local families to oversee the business and honor what they built.”

Kenny, who oversees operations, resides in La Grange Park and his children attended Riverside Brookfield High School while Milchhoefer, who oversees the physical plant, is raising a family in North Riverside. Their proximity means both are capable of being on-site in minutes though Kenny has been working at the bar from open-to-close since the sale went through. You can even find him behind the bar grilling up Cordial Inn’s beloved cheeseburgers and backing up veteran bartender, Nancy Barry, who has been behind the bar, pouring drinks and grilling burgers for 29 years.

“People were really afraid we’d turn this into some kind of lounge,” said Kenny. “But we are never going to be a place that has bottle service; we are a shot and a beer kind of place and always will be. The Cordial Inn will always be The Cordial Inn.”

The Cordial Inn is open from Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Stop by to see that nothing has changed.

The Cordial Inn
9207 31st St., Brookfield
(708) 485-9753

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