Fire guts ‘mom and pop’ catering firm that made meals for the elderly and also served Bulls, Blackhawks on their private planes

The fire destroyed the company’s building at 6339 S. Central Ave., just blocks from Midway Airport. “It’s gutted, it’s done,” said Becky Walowski, an employee.

SHARE Fire guts ‘mom and pop’ catering firm that made meals for the elderly and also served Bulls, Blackhawks on their private planes
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A fire Thursday night destroyed Georgis Catering at 6339 S. Central Avenue.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Georgis Catering has been around for nearly 80 years, its business ranging from providing meals to the elderly to serving Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks on their private planes.

On Thursday night, a fire destroyed the company’s building at 6339 S. Central Ave., just blocks from Midway Airport.

“It’s gutted, it’s done,” said Becky Walowski, an employee. “Thankfully the building was empty, it happened after everyone left ... The last I heard, the roof collapsed. We don’t know how it started.”

Walowski said half of Georgis’ business was serving 2,000 meals a day for the elderly in their homes or at centers across the Chicago area. The other half was providing in-flight meals on private planes.

“We’ve done presidents, we do the Bulls, we do the Blackhawks, we do the Milwaukee Bucks,” she said. “We deliver right to their planes. If Warren Buffett is flying out of Palwaukee Airport, we take care of him.”

Walowski described the business as a “mom and pop shop.” It has 35 employees and the chef has been there for 30 years.

She was unsure what the business will do now, though she said the owners were looking for a new kitchen. “You don’t know what to say, you don’t know what to do.”

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Georgis Catering at 6339 S. Central Ave.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The Meals on Wheels Foundation of Northern Illinois issued a statement Friday saying it was “devastated” by the loss and were searching “for a new caterer and trying to connect with local restaurants as quickly as we can.”

“At our eight sites in Cook County in Brookfield, Berwyn, Hometown, South Chicago Heights, Phoenix, Lemont Township, and at one of our stand-alone cafés in Dolton, our clients will not receive hot meals today,” the foundation said, adding that “emergency shelf stable meals” would be provided.

“For over a decade, Georgis Catering has provided nearly 10,000 meals per week to Cook County’s most vulnerable seniors,” the foundation said. ”Georgis Catering truly helped make a difference in our communities.”

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