Owner keeps moving forward at Anyway’s in Oakbrook Terrace
George Lamberis, owner of Anyway's restaurant/pub in Oakbrook Terrace, visits with fellow alumni of Northern Illinois University Dec. 19. Lamberis is hosting a gathering when NIU's football team plays in the Orange Bowl. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Food for thought
Address: 5 East Roosevelt Road, Oakbrook Terrace
Business hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, for restaurant; pub hours start at the same time and end at 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
Updated: February 25, 2013 2:20AM
OAKBROOK TERRACE — George Lamberis is always up for trying something new.
That’s how the former college economics major, turned accountant, ended up opening Anyway’s, a restaurant/pub in 1995.
And now Lamberis, a 1988 graduate of Northern Illinois University and a loyal fan of that school’s sports teams, is trying something else new: he is hosting an official gathering of the NIU Alumni Association Jan. 1 when the school’s football team faces Florida State University in the Orange Bowl. The party starts at 7 p.m.; the game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be shown on all 20 TV screens at Anyway’s.
“I’m happy and honored to be doing this,” said Lamberis, 48. “I’ve been networking with NIU, and they have these parties at different places during the season. I’ve been interested in being a place for that, and it’s a big thing having NIU in the Orange Bowl, so it should be fun.”
Lamberis said representatives from the NIU Alumni Association will “dress up” Anyway’s for the Orange Bowl party.
“There are a lot of NIU alums in this area, so I’m hoping for a good turnout, but I really don’t know what to expect,” he said.
Lamberis also didn’t know what to expect when he decided to open Anyway’s. He never had any earlier interest in getting into the restaurant/pub business, despite some family history in that area.
“My dad had a restaurant in Westmont when I was growing up,” Lamberis said. “I was there a lot as a kid, but I never was interested in being part of that.”
Lamberis became an economics major at NIU because “I couldn’t get into the business school” to be an accountant. However, he learned to be an accountant while working in a job for three years after graduating from NIU.
“I spent a lot of time on Chicago’s North Side after college, and I fell in love with the neighborhood pubs,” Lamberis said. “I liked the combination of pubs and restaurants, and decided I wanted to be a business owner.”
That idea turned into reality after stopping in for lunch one day in 1994 at the restaurant that previously occupied the building in which Anyway’s is located.
“I ended up talking to the owner for three hours, and the building had what I was looking for,” he said.
Lamberis’ vision was to open “the ultimate neighborhood bar and grill.”
“It was more of a pub at first, but we have expanded and remodeled; I’m always looking for new ways to be better,” he said. “It’s really a place for everyone.”