Eddie Gaedel official opening a grand slam
ELBURN—Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill of Elburn combined its official grand opening celebration with the opening day of baseball on Monday. The bar originally opened in May 2013 but postponed its grand opening party until a couple of improvements to the bar were completed.
Eddie Gaedel is owned by Richard and Annette Theobald and Robert and Myra Ottoson. Richard said he was pleased with the turnout the establishment welcomed on Monday.
“Today was way beyond our expectations,” he said.
“We were hoping for 40 people per hour for the 10 hours we’re open, for a total of 400 people,” Annette said. Between 250 and 300 people visited the pub and grill on Monday.
The pub and grill offered a ballpark-themed menu, including Ream’s bratwurst, hot dogs, pork chop sandwiches, major league cinna bites, and more. The running baseball theme wasn’t limited to the menu. Baseball decorations and streamers hung from the ceiling, and small baseball-themed paper bags hung on a wall as a place for people to submit raffle tickets.
Eddie Gaedel employees were dressed in grey baseball jerseys that read “Gaedel” on the back, along with the number “1/8,” in honor of Eddie Gaedel, the bar’s namesake. Gaedel, an individual with dwarfism, who had an at-bat in a St. Louis Browns doubleheader in August 1951 and became famous for being the smallest player in Major League Baseball history at 3-foot-7.
The name of the bar is fitting for a couple of reasons.
“As a sports bar, we wanted a name that only a true sports fan would know, and that represented something small or short, since our bar is small,” Annette said.
Gaedel also has a special connection to Elburn, as he was the grand marshal of the Elburn Days parade on Sept. 7, 1951. The editor of the Elburn Herald at the time had asked Gaedel if he would lead the parade.
The Theobalds and Ottosons decided to donate a percentage of Monday’s profits, raising over $800 from the raffle and earning well over $1,000 in food sales and tips. The money will benefit two organizations that have a unique association with Gaedel.
“We’ve been in contact with Eddie Gaedel’s nephew on Facebook and asked him what organization is special to him,” Annette said. “He chose the National Kidney Foundation, since his dad, Eddie’s brother, died of kidney failure. And we picked the PEAK Kindness Campaign, since Eddie was bullied.”
Local residents have had positive things to say about the Eddie Gaedel Pub and Grill thus far.
“It’s a nice to have a place like it out our way,” said Penny Chapman of Maple Park. “(The) atmosphere is not like a typical bar. They serve good food and it’s a quaint place to eat.”