Everyone welcome to new tavern in Legion building
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARKâ€”A new tavern at the Maple Park American Legion, H.D. Rockers, is not just a biker bar, although it does have a motorcycle theme.
Partners Wally Elliott and John Peloso previously shared an interest in motorcycles, and now they also share the business.
â€œWe had talked about this for years, and when the opportunity came up, we thought, ‘Let’s do it,’â€ Elliott said.
The Legion earlier this year offered to rent its bar and kitchen facility to them for H.D. Rockers. The barâ€™s grand opening was March 20.
Elliott and Pelosi were familiar with the Legion through volunteering at its fish fries in the past. They opened their doors in late February, after cleaning and decorating the basement space, and lighting the back bar.
â€œIt really didn’t have an identity before. It just was a place,â€ Elliott said. â€œWe changed the decor. We went with a total motorcycle theme â€¦ nostalgic.â€
Open to the public seven days a week, H.D. Rockers began serving dinner last week, including corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.
Chef Karen Aiello made mostacolli and Italian sausage for the grand opening. On Wednesday, the bar featured Karen’s Bottomless Chili Pot, with all the fixin’s and dessert for $5.
Dinner is available several nights a week, sometimes buffet style. In the future, the bar will begin offering lunch. Customers may purchase Dough Brother’s Pizza at the bar anytime, to eat in or take out.
H.D. Rockers is open during the Legion’s monthly fish fries, which have drawn a lot more people recently, including motorcyclists from Downers Grove and other suburbs, Elliott said.
He and his partner do not want to compete with the other two taverns on the block, Big Dawgs and Maple Park Bar & Grill; they just wanted to provide another place for people to go, and to bring a new business to the village, Elliott said.
â€œWe’re not the biggest bar. It is what it is,â€ Elliott said. â€œWe’re just trying to have a little bit of fun, make a go of it.â€
Elliott and Peloso plan to open up the bar for charitable fundraisers that motorcycle groups and other organizations want to hold.
â€œWe want to work with them, provide a place for those kinds of events,â€ Elliott said. â€œThey can have their party here, kick things off from here.â€
H.D. Rockers can use a banquet room adjacent to the bar in the Legion for live entertainment. For the grand opening, Sycamore band Regal Force performed.
The bar will have entertainment on a regular basis, Elliott said. He and Peloso put the word out on Facebook and on the bar’s website, www.hdrockers.com, that they were seeking musicians to play at the bar. The partners auditioned a local bluegrass group Sunday evening, Green Briar Mountain.
â€œWe’ve had a lot of local bands come in (to audition),â€ Elliott said.
An entertainer of national note will perform at the bar on May 28â€”Lindsey Lawler, who was a headliner at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville for years.
Aside from the food and entertainment, what Elliott expects will draw people to H.S. Rockers is its theme and relaxing, Wisconsin-tavern style.
â€œIt’s just a comfortable place to be, where everyone can have a good time,’ Elliott said.
residents Wally Elliott (left) and John Peloso, who are motorcyle enthusiasts, gave their new tavern, H.D.
Rockers, their hobby’s theme. They are renting the Maple Park
American Legion bar and kitchen space for the business.
Photo by Martha Quetsch