Saturday, June 25, 2022

Mathon's Fish and Seafood Restaurant, Waukegan, Illinois.

Mathon's Seafood Restaurant was at 6 East Clayton Street in Waukegan, Illinois, at Lake Michigan's shoreline. Mathon's, owned by Mathon Kyritsis, was the only restaurant in Illinois operating their own fishing boats, gathering fresh fish daily for their restaurant. Personally, I loved the restaurant until the last couple of years before they closed. My favorite dishes were the fresh catch of the day, cooked on wood planks.

Fishing is a sport that many residents of Waukegan enjoy at the mile long pier. In it's heyday many residents would arrive in the early mornings of July and August to fish for perch, which were plentiful and always a success at local Friday fish fries.

Many people would see Mathon Kyritsis and his tug boat leave the harbor (4 to 5 am) for the early catch of the day. 

The fresh-caught fish was served at Mathon's restaurant, a block away from the lakefront next to a bait shop and the coal yards which were profitable ventures in their day.

The rail would bring people from other Lakeshore communities along the Sheridan road line to enjoy the fare at Mathon's restaurant. Always packed on Fridays. Residents of the harbor town, and persons that are not native Waukegans, have reported seeing ''the Mathon tugboat'' leaving the harbor in the early mornings and also seen by other boating and fishing enthusiasts.

The name of the tug is visible on the boat, white on a dark background. The tugboat whistle can be heard as the tug puts out to the lake waters to fish. When it vanishes quickly, some boaters and fishermen have reported it's quick disappearance to the local police, thinking that something had happened to the tug, since it vanishes so quickly. Sightings have been reported to the coast guard and local police, several times, over the years.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. Mathon's was a regular night out for my family. I loved the French fried shrimp with the light orange sauce they made to dip the shrimp in.

  2. My grandfather John Kyritsis Sr. was Mathons younger brother. He came here from Greece, the island of Milos with Mathon when he was only 16. The brothers worked together at the restaurant, my grandfather was the chef and as a small child I used to watch him cook the soups on Sunday mornings after church. He would often let us play with lobsters out of the cooler while he finished up whatever dishes he was making before the restaurant opened. I remember hearing once when I was younger that it was at one time rated one of the top 50 restaurants in the United States while my grandfather was the the Chef.
    Sharon Kyritsi

    1. When I was a young teen (early 60's), my father took us to the restaurant while we were in the area shopping at the Military base. Mr Greek father had been a Captain in the Army during WWII. I remember there was a full-sized replica of the Venus De Milo statue in the restaurant. The story went that Mathon conducted explorations to try and find the lost arms of this statue... and was written up in Encyclopedia Britannica for having done so. A mold was made of the original statue and the statue in this restaurant was made from this mold, which was then supposedly destroyed. In Greek, there is a tradition called 'proxinyo' (sp) where the parents got together and ARRANGED for the marriage of their children. Mathon and my dad were trying to convince me that I was to marry Mathon's son John... and go live with him on an islnd off Greece that Mathon owned. Scared me to death that they were really going to DO it! I am 72 now... and STILL remember that day!! ;) Wondering of that statue is on display at the restaurant.


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