Game Tyme Sports Bar and Grill in Lynwood is One of the Southland’s Best (Lynwood, IL) – It wasn’t always in Melvin Jeter’s plans to own a restaurant. While working more than four decades at BMO Harris Bank as an Informational Technology professional, he didn’t know what he would pivot to during the future.
Jeter did know that his family would need extra income during retirement. His wife convinced him that shifting toward an additional career would be useful for their future.
“Being a restaurant entrepreneur was not my first choice because I just didn’t have that entrepreneurial spirit. But my wife always had it because her mother owned a restaurant in the 1970s in Chicago. That was actually where I met her so she believed we could do it and she was right,” said Jeter, who with his wife Lisa, co-owns Game Tyme Sports Bar and Grill, 19950 Torrence Ave. in Lynwood.
Opening on Super Bowl Sunday in 2019, the business offers a full bar, drink specials, a cigar lounge, darts, billiards and multiple large screen televisions for events. The restaurant is known for its Philly Steak, Buffalo Chicken and Jerk Chicken rolls. With red quartz countertops matching its red booths and chairs, the owners sought to create an environment that people would ultimately feel comfortable.
“When we thought of the idea of opening up a bar, we were looking at a place where we could provide good food and atmosphere for people in Lynwood and the surrounding suburbs like Glenwood, Tinley Park, South Holland, Lansing, Calumet City, Chicago Heights and more. We wanted to put together a place that had a downtown Chicago ambience without you having to drive all the way down to Chicago. People love being able to drive close to their neighborhood to go eat, watch sports and just have a good time.”
When deciding what they would do in their future, the Lynwood couple would often drive down Torrence Avenue. They saw a building that had been abandoned for years that was a former liquor store. They felt it would be the ideal spot for their business and began working with the village of Lynwood to see if they could make their idea come true.
Purchasing and Rehabbing the Building
They purchased the building in December 2017 and spent more than a year renovating. “It took a lot longer than expected and you learn a lot about the process when you are doing a total rehab,” said Jeter.
“We had to gut the building inside, put all new plumbing, a deck for outdoor activities, flooring, add several bathrooms and drop the ceiling. It was a big task.”
The first year the business was successful and he viewed it as a solid beginning. Then the second year, COVID happened.
“It was rough during the pandemic when everything was shut down. We had our ups and downs but things have bounded back this year,” said Jeter.
“We have exceeded our expectations, and I am someone who typically has realistic expectations.” The couple continues to focus on giving back to the area, sponsoring several Bloom Township high school sports teams as well as the Lynwood Little League. They said being part of them neighborhood means more than just having a business down the street from where they live.
“We want to pay it forward. We enjoy being part of the community and donating to the village and puting money to programs where police purchase toys for underprivileged kids,” said Jeter.
“My wife is an extrovert and loves mixing and mingling with people. Our customers love her and call her mama and I have become pops. Even some guys older than me call me pops. It is a great feeling.” Jeter has advice for others that want to pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs.
“You have to position yourself for the next level and know it will take a lot of hard work to be successful in business,” he added.
Game Tyme Sports Bar and Grill in Lynwood is One of the Southland’s Best