Leo v. Rita a Family, Community Affair with Reception at Red Palm Evergreen Park

Mike Nix, Owner of The Red Palm

Mike Nix, Owner of The Red Palm.

On Friday, December 4, 2015 Leo hosts Saint Rita in basketball at Saint Xavier University’s Shannon Center, and Mike Nix, owner of the Red Palm in Evergreen Park hopes to see both schools at his bar and grill before and after the contest.

Nix is a 1980 graduate of Leo and Hall of Famer; his son Seamus, who works at the  Red Palm, uses his hard-earned cash to pay tuition at Saint Rita.

“Maybe dad will give me a few hours off to see the game,” said the young Mr. Nix. “Then I’ll be back to working tables and washing dishes. I’ve got the cleanest hands in the family.”

Sons Ryan and Sean also attended Saint Rita. Ryan is a manager in the family business and Sean is never too far away to lend a hand when hostess Roxanna, his mom, says so.

The Red Palm Bar & Grill routinely showcases televised high schools games and Saint Rita held the big screen for more than a few football games this year. It was also a gathering point after contests.

“The Red Palm is becoming a melting pot for Catholic League school fans,” said Nix. “We expect to see a number of Leo and Saint Rita alums and fans after the game. Nowadays, a kid can’t go wrong with his Catholic school choices.”

Nix said his restaurant was teeming with action during the exciting high school playoffs, with fans from Marist gathering last Saturday for the live broadcast.

“High school sports is one of the best sports entertainment packages around,” said Nix. “It’s always better in person but if you can’t invest the time, the televised version with a couple of alumni buddies is the way to go.”

Leo will run round-trip shuttle service from the Red Palm, 3020 West 95th Street, leaving at 6:15 p.m. for any and all fans heading to the contest.

Leo’s storied fourth-floor gym at 79th and Sangamon almost burst in previous seasons when the rivals and their fan following met. By comparison, the Shannon Center’s generous space gives Leo the look of a practice facility.

The easy access allows more senior alums to find comfortable seating instead of a navigating four floors of stairs. Shannon also allows for both schools to showcase local South Side talent on a university floor, one graced by two of Leo’s legends, Tom O’Malley and Bob Hallberg, who coach the men and women’s teams, respectively, at SXU.

The Leo event against Saint Rita, in conjunction with the reception, is one in a series of events to commemorate Leo’s 90th year teaching young men.

Posted with permission of  Bill Figel, Community Editor, Daily Southtown.

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