history


Hackney’s 60th Anniversary
Although Hackney’s begins tracing its history from 1939, the year Jim and Kitz Masterson were married, the actual store begins in the middle twenties during Prohibition. Jim’s mother, a widow with two children, married Frank Engels of Wilmette.

The Engels acquired property near the corner of Lake & Waukegan Road just outside the village of Glenview. They built a two-story building, with living quarters upstairs and a bar downstairs.

Grandma Engels’ sister, Aunt Bebe, and her husband, Jack Hackney, followed from Chicago and bought a small farm house on Harms Road a mile or so east of Engels’. They served beer and corned beef sandwiches on a glassed-in porch built on the back of the house until 1933, when Prohibition was repealed.Jim Masterson
Jim Masterson

At that time their garage was extended to accommodate a four-stool bar and a little office and liquor-inventory room, as well as a very small kitchen in the back with a four-burner plate. There the Hackneyburger was born, cooked in ten-inch black iron frying pans and served on Aunt Bebe’s own dark rye, which she had learned to make as a child while cooking for her family after her mother died.

Jack Hackney died in 1936 and Aunt Bebe died in 1939, just a few weeks before her nephew, Jim Masterson, married. Grandma Engels inherited the property and offered the empty house to Jim and his new wife. When they moved in June 1939, Jim began running the business with his wife closely involved.

Civilian Conservation CorpsMany customers in the early years came from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp across Harms Road. In the depths of the Great Depression, the CCC was formed to give environmental clean-up jobs to unemployed young man. During World War II, the camp was taken over by the Military Police. Prisoners of war were kept there, and although they didn’t patronize Hackney’s they could be seen playing soccer across the street. Today, the only camp building remaining houses the Girl Scouts.

After the war, former farmland was developed and private homes and neighborhoods were established. Jim and Kitz raised their seven children at the house on Harms Road, and the kids grew up with the neighborhood.

The Hackney WomenGrandma and Grandpa Engels sold their business on the Lake Avenue to Jim and Kitz. Their seven kids returned from college and professed an interest in the business. Just as “too many cooks spoil the broth”, too many managers could trip over each other. The solution was to open more restaurants. Over a succession of years, the Mastersons bought Behm’s on Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling, Poppe’s Alpine House in Lake Zurich, The Matterhorn in Palos Park, and Moonraker in the South Loop of the City of Chicago. Hackney’s now numbers six locations, each run by members of the family.

Jim Masterson passed away in 1987. Today, Kitz Masterson is the proud matriarch of an extended clan of 7 children, 22 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. Kitz and the entire Masterson family would like to thank our employees, our relatives, and our friends, as well as the communities in which we live and work, for all their support over the years. But most of all, we would like to thank you, our customer, who has made our 60 years possible.

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