By day, Deko’s, at 7445 W Madison St., is a family-oriented fast food restaurant that caters to the lunch crowd. But two nights a week it caters to an entirely different crowd, open late to provide quality food to the bar crowd on Madison Street. 

“Before I opened the liquor store I wanted to open something like this,” said Peter Briggs, co-owner and operator of Deko’s and former owner of Forest Park Liquors.

The dream in Briggs’ mind was a late-night restaurant serving bar patrons in Forest Park. But to do it, he needed a little help from his family.

He asked for and received support from his wife Lauren, brother, Derek, and sister-in-law Kim, as well as his friend and relative Joey Shaker.

Together they retooled Briggs’ career and opened Deko’s on March 8.

“I always wanted to do it and my brother and I had it in the back of our heads that this was a great idea,” says Briggs.

Today, it is a family operation with a lot of long hours.  Even the name has a family connection, as it is his brother Derek’s childhood nickname and a nickname Lauren uses for Briggs.

“Even though it says 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., we are here two to three hours before, and an hour to three hours afterwards,” Briggs said.  “On the weekends we are open late. It is a long weekend that ends up being 20 to 21 hours that someone has to be here.

“My brother helps with books and running errands and works the register,” Briggs said. “Joey is the same, he also does our advertising and will come in and help with the register. My wife does some of the behind the scenes cooking.”

The idea for a late-night restaurant was born from simple observation.

“There is a need for a late night place for the bars [in Forest Park] and for a lunch family crowd,” Briggs said. “We felt we had a nice niche.”

One interesting twist”Deko’s is completely smoke free and alcohol free no matter what time of day or night, a fact that Briggs said will not affect their late-night sales.

“There are so many bars that people can smoke and drink at other establishments,” Briggs said.

And the niche is definitely there.

“On Madison Street alone there are probably over a dozen bars,” Briggs said.  “A lot of the restaurants and bars close their kitchens between 9 and 11 p.m.; we stay open one hour past the bars, giving patrons a place to unwind.”

Briggs said many of his patrons are not necessarily looking to keep on partying, they are just looking for a bite to eat before heading home for the evening.  They find it at his restaurant, which offers seating for 30 to 35 people.

Since opening, Briggs said, the restaurant has enjoyed a warm reception.

“We have a good lunch and a good early dinner crowd,” Briggs said. “The one weekend we were open late night it was very, very busy.”

Briggs has high hopes that when the weather changes in the summer, the crowds will grow as the temperature rises.

During the day, most of the patrons are business people looking for a quick bite to eat and families with children, who pop in for the burritos, super nachos and cheeseburgers”the most popular items on the menu, all offered for an average of $5.50 per customer.

The restaurant will offer a second opening in April with giveaways for the crowd.

Deko’s, which also does private parties and catering, is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.  Sunday, the family takes a breather.