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Chicago, IL

Food & Hospitality

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Work Culture at Whirlyball

Our Story

So how did a game that uses unequal parts of basketball, lacrosse, and bumper cars come to Chicago? It is a story of intrigue and blind, reckless determination.

Unlike some unpublished reports, it didn’t begin with a blindfold, a map, and a dart. But it did begin with a question. Where in the world are a bunch of people in need of fun but unable to go outside several months a year? The answer…Lombard, Illinois. In 1993, Sam Elias, our founder, moved from Florida to Chicago to bring the people what they always wanted: 4,000 square feet to bump cars, cross check, slam dunk, and embarrass themselves without getting arrested. And as it happened…this was an extremely good idea.

People needed a release from the nine to five and from Tuesday night bowling. In fact, the desire was even greater than Sam expected. So three years later another location opened near downtown Chicago and eight years after that another popped up in Vernon Hills. Then, to the delight of daredevils and adrenaline junkies everywhere, we added laser tag facilities and bowling!

So that’s the story of how Whirlyball exploded on the Chicago scene, and we’re sticking to it.

Well, most of it.

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