FREEPORT (WREX) — If you're looking for a great burger and a cold drink in the Pretzel City, Mort's Bar and Grill in downtown Freeport has been a go-to spot for more than 20 years.
Since 1984, the family-owned establishment has welcomed folks from all walks of life to take a seat and enjoy.
"I grew up in this bar," says General Manager Mike Marten, "I started flipping burgers when I was 13, my dad started this back in '84 with my uncle Saint."
Five years ago, Marten took over the bar and grill from his father. He now runs the day-to-day operations and his brothers run the business side of things.
Family is what Marten says makes Mort's, Mort's.
"We have a strong heritage here and that's something a lot of people don't want to forget," says Marten. "We've been here, we're not going anywhere."
When the pandemic shutdown indoor dining, Marten says they had to think fast. They decided to change their operations around and become carry-out and delivery only.
"You had to change everything," says Marten. "We're used to making burgers but we're a bar to... so to change everything to a sandwich shop was a little different."
Even with all the uncertainties thrown their way, Mort's has come out on top.
"You just set the principle, set the tone and stay consistent, and the community shows up," says Marten.
"Freeport cares. One way to another this community shows up, lends a hand and pitches in. It's amazing."
It's that loyalty from long time customers Marten says has gotten them through the last year, but, it's also been that way since the bar and grill opened.
"When you come to Mort's you're family here. You walk in that door and know that you're going to be greeted with a smile and treated with respect. Our customers become our family and that is something that will never change here."
Marten says he hopes to have the bar and grill back open for indoor dining starting in March.
Right now, Mort's is only open for take-out and delivery from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and take-out only from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.