NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert travels to Illinois city to get creative to survive pandemic

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CHICAGO (Nation Now) – Adrienne Bankert, veteran Emmy Award-winning journalist and host of “Morning in America,” is dedicated to telling stories of real people from all walks of life and from all parts of the country.

Morning in America to spotlight America’s main streets in the series AB on Principal, an intersection of conversation about how America can move forward. Adrienne set out to tour the main streets of the country to listen to the voices, concerns and perspectives of ordinary people.

Its next stop is Joliet, Ill., Known for its historic bridges, all dating back to the 1930s. With the Plains River running through its downtown area and a stop on the famous Route 66, Joliet is a small town with a great personality.

At the Crossroads of America, Jen Howard, president of the Joliet Area Chamber of Commerce, said the power of social media has helped bring their community together to keep businesses alive during the pandemic.

“Oh, that was huge. There was a Facebook page created by a local resident, and everyone shared local spots to go and support, ”Howard said.

One of these local businesses is the Louis family restaurant, a mainstay of Joliet.

Owner Elias Polimenakos immigrated from Greece and opened the family restaurant in 1992, enabling him to raise his family and live the American dream. But with no drive-thru or take-out service, the business suffered during the pandemic until two of its sons, Nick and Michael, intervened.

“They’ve done everything for us our whole lives and when they asked for help they didn’t hesitate to come here. I mean, they needed help; we were going to help. There was no doubt about it, ”Nick said.

One son dropped out of his pre-medical studies and the other postponed his engineering projects; both returned to Joliet and set to work.

“We took a covered restaurant and turned it into a drive-thru,” said Michael.

Then they did some big digital upgrades.

“It’s a restaurant that was in the ancient past. We brought it into modern times; we gave him a website, Doordash, Facebook, Grubhub. I mean, we have it on social media now, ”Nick said.

They even did an advertisement and brought in a mascot, their dog Zeus.

The Louis family restaurant not only survived, but sales also flourished.

“It was the most difficult time for a restaurant in a year and a half, and we have thrived,” said Nick.

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“Without them I could never do it, and they do a great job,” Elias said.

Better yet, the brothers decided to stay in Joliet and continue the family business together.

“I think we’ve found something that makes more sense. We found something together. And it was our family. It’s our heritage that belongs to us, ”said Nick. “Now we do it together every day, and it means so much more. “


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