A Family Tradition
“We have been in business for almost 50 years, and, with the help of family and friends, we hope to be in business for many more.” - Louis Fabbri, Executive President
When It All Began
The Fabbri family has been creating memorable wedding receptions since October 1969 when Louis Fabbri became co-owner of the Mar Lac House in Oak Park, Illinois. For 20 years Lou and his partner produced thousands of memorable events including wedding receptions, anniversaries, fundraisers, dinner dances, and other community events.
In 1989, Lou’s sons Michael J. Fabbri (currently Executive Vice President) and Robert Fabbri (currently Executive Chef) joined their father at the Mar Lac House and the three planned extensive building and menu renovations. Together, the family developed a strong reputation for quality cuisine and exceptional service. To this day, community events (Easter Sunday Brunch and New Year’s Eve Celebration) that were once hosted at the Mar Lac House are now hosted at the Abbington.
Fabbri Family Moves West
At Abbington Distinctive Banquets, the tradition lives on with our family ready to make your dream wedding come true. Let our family take excellent care of yours! Abbington Distinctive Banquets has been owned and operated by the Fabbri family since 2002. The family reputation and experience combine with elegant surroundings to celebrate your special occasion with class and sophistication. Located in the Chicago west suburb of Glen Ellyn, Abbington is one of the finest banquet facilities in the area.
Meet our Managers
Louis Fabbri| Executive President
Fate gave a little push when Lou, President, fell into the banquet business as co-owner of Mar Lac House. In 1969, a friend of the family invited Lou to join him in the business to operate the front of the house. As an eager young accountant turned banquet businessman, Lou produced thousands of magnificent events featuring homemade Italian specialties. He is responsible for creating the legacy of excellence that trickled from Oak Park to Glen Ellyn in 2002. Lou currently acts as President of The Abbington maintaining the books and making sure the facility glimmers and gleams (pictures please- no editing necessary!).
Lou continues to be an active member of his communities bringing repeat business to the Abbington year after year. A long time member of Oak Park River Forest Rotary and Rotary International, Lou attends weekly meetings and annual events across the globe. After years of hosting events at Mar Lac House and Abbington Distinctive Banquets, Lou’s favorite event is a quiet Christmas Eve Dinner with his wife, their three sons and their families that features many of the Italian specialties found on our menus today. From our family to yours- Buon Appetito!
Michael J. Fabbri| Executive Vice President
Son to President Lou and brother to Chef Rob, Mike takes the lead in the front of the house operations as Vice President and co-owner of The Abbington. Honest practices, mindfulness of employees, and meticulous care for the business earn him the title of “World’s Best Boss”! Having grown up in the family business Mike has long been exposed to the glamour of the hospitality, food and beverage, and sales industries. Most of his early experience was gained working in the kitchen. As a young adult, Mike left the business to pursue a degree and career in business administration and marketing.
In September 1989, Mike made his way back to the family business (Mar Lac Banquets, Oak Park) and joined the team as General Manager. May of 2002 the Fabbri family moved the business to Glen Ellyn to what is now known as Abbington Distinctive Banquets: Mike took his place as Executive VP and has run the front of the house operations since.
When Mike isn’t running the front of the house operations you will find him enjoying a quiet night in with his darling wife and scrumptious homemade Italian dinners. If he finds the time amidst running a well-oiled machine, that is, The Abbington, Mike takes pleasure in treating his wife and grown children to local attractions and tropical vacations.
Tara Kubicki| General Manager
The Abbington proudly presents Tara as our General Manager. With twenty years of experience in the event industry, Tara is confident, meticulous, and a master of change – truly an influential asset to the team. A small town country girl, Tara moved to Chicago suburbs to work as a banquet server at a local hotel. Through years of experience in serving and bartending Tara worked her way to the front office to become a sales assistant where she found her passion. After ten years of working as one of our sales managers, Tara was promoted to Director of Sales and Catering and then in 2016, to General Manager.
Having built her career in the Chicagoland, Tara is an expert on our preferred vendors including decorators and florist, photographers, disc jockeys and many more. Her favorite part of event management is guiding clients through the planning process from cards at the escort table to choosing the menu and custom linens. Tara is enlightened by the “creative and personal touches brides add to their Special Day… [and] takes great pride in exceeding their dreamiest wedding reception expectations”.
When Tara isn’t at the office you can find her feet up, glass of red wine in hand, lounging on her backyard patio dreaming of sandy Caribbean beaches with her husband. Find her at special events throughout the year including the NRA Show Chicago, Naperville Rib Fest, and rock concerts.
Alyssa M. Tibbs| Catering Sales Manager
Alyssa comes to The Abbington as our Catering Sales Manager. A graduate from Indiana University with a baccalaureate in fine arts and communications, Alyssa relocated to the Windy City to build her career in event management. She brings a history of event services specializing in décor for weddings, fundraisers, and special events. Alyssa is down to earth and relatable: She focuses on meeting her clients’ needs while providing a stress-free event planning experience.
Formerly from South Bend, Indiana Alyssa came to Chicagoland for big city opportunities. She enthusiastically joined us in January 2014, and she continues to manage weddings and special events with enthusiasm. Her favorite part of planning is on the day of the event when her client first sees the ballroom, “My reward is experiencing that first moment with my clients- when the doors open and their reception space is revealed for the first time- it’s spectacular!”
When Alyssa isn’t managing events she enjoys cuddling on the couch with her husband and cockapoo puppy to watch comedies or her favorite sports team- the Indianapolis Colts- while devouring a juicy burger and local brew.
Kathy Koutsogiannis| Banquet Catering Manager
The Abbington boasts Kathy as our Banquet Catering Manager. Kathy brings a plethora of knowledge and experience in hospitality, banquets, and sales to our team. She is a true gem: Her care for customers and respect for the business are two of her brightest characteristics.
Kathy’s first experience in the industry began at a local banquet facility; Kathy needed a job to support her family but after her first day on the job she left “with three blisters, $11.00 in tips, and thought, ‘this is crazy! I can’t do this job!’”. Forty years later, Kathy is an matchless member of our team with an understanding and practice of multiple positions in the industry. From simple holiday parties and other social events to Quinceaneras and Wedding Receptions of grandeur, Kathy enjoys every part of the planning process and “the excitement of it all! From the ring, to the proposal, and all details of planning the Big Day” Kathy enjoys getting to know her clients.
When Kathy isn’t at The Abbington you will find her with her beloved husband. The love birds enjoy early breakfasts at Butterfield’s, road trips to visit their granddaughters, caring for their home, and cuddling on the couch to watch reruns of NYPD Blue.
Elisabeth Malinski| Catering Assistant
Elisabeth, our faithful Catering Assistant four nearly four years, warmly greets our clients with her genuine smile and caring personality. Getting her start by working in the kitchen as a shift cook at a nearby facility; helped to ignite her passion in the food and hospitality industry. Having obtained her Associates in Applied Science for Meeting and Event Planning, she is currently pursuing her dream of a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition.
As a treasured member of our staff, she acts as an assistant to our Banquet and Catering Managers helping them in various tasks with paperwork, appointments, and event set up. Her extensive experience in serving, bartending, and restaurant management has proven to be indispensable asset to our team. Elisabeth takes great enjoyment in the day-of event production, helping with all of the elements which come together in perfect harmony to create a memorable event.
Days when Elisabeth cannot be found at the Abbington, she is working hard with her father and father-in-law renovating homes, cooking and creating diet and workout plans for family and friends, but most importantly enjoys quiet nights at home chasing after her toddler son, and sipping Chardonnay with her husband.
Meet our Chefs
Robert Fabbri| Executive Chef
Chef Rob seasons the team with over twenty-five years experience in hospitality and kitchen management and he currently serves as our Executive Chef. Chef Rob works zealously to provide the highest quality food and beverage: The key that sets The Abbington experience over and above our competition.
In 1987, Chef Rob began his career as the co-owner of the business (Mar Lac Banquets, Oak Park) along with his father, Louis, and brother, Michael. When the family moved the business to Glen Ellyn (Abbington Distinctive Banquets) in 2002, Rob assumed the position of Executive Chef.
When Chef Rob isn’t managing behind the scenes he enjoys playful afternoons with his wife and two sons. Each year Rob raises support for and participates in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes. His favorite family recipe – Chicken Toscano with Vesuvio-style Potatoes– was featured in the Daily Herald in April 2005.
Philip Griffin| Executive Chef
Chef Phil passionately serves as our Executive Chef. With over thirty years of experience in the culinary industry, attention to detail, and genuine care for customers he is an irreplaceable asset to the team. Phil began his career with the Fabbri family at Mar Lac Banquets as bus boy, and as an apprentice under chef Bruno he mastered the art of real Italian cooking. After years of banquet service Phil worked his way up to Assistance Executive Chef and in 2013 to Executive Chef where he continues his culinary practice.
Chef Phil is hands on in the kitchen from training supervisors and line cooks to updating Fabbri family recipes to modern tastes and presentations. While living and working in the western suburbs of Chicago, Phil has developed a select network of food and beverage vendors to provide Abbington guests with the highest quality meats and produce.
When Chef Phil isn’t overseeing food preparations and meal service he enjoys long walks with his wife and late night sips while lounging in their front yard seated at a two top bistro table. His favorite meal to prepare is Christmas Eve Dinner for which he arranges a spread of seven different fish and seafood dishes including his signature clam chowder.