Lisa Marie is owner of The Squared Circle Restaurant in Chicago, IL. She is formerly known as TNA Knockout Tara & five-time TNA Knockouts Champion as well as an one-time TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion. She is a former two time WWE Women's Champion, Finishing move is the Widow's Peak, debuted on WWF as one of the Godfather's Ho's, has worked on all three WWE brands (RAW, ECW &a Smackdown). She departed from the WWE in January of 2009. Owned Black Widow Customs & Fat Tony's Pizzeria in Louisville, KY. Moved to Chicago, IL for for a few years & currently resides in southern California.

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 03/11/2015


Scary moment for ex-WWE superstar Victoria when her husband confronted a gun-toting intruder at her Chicago restaurant… AND BODY SLAMMED THE GUY.
We spoke with Victoria — real name Lisa Marie Varon — who tells us a suspicious man entered “The Squared Circle” restaurant this weekend and started making trouble inside the women’s bathroom.
That’s when Victoria’s husband, Lee (who manages the joint) approached the man to find out what the hell he was up to. According to Victoria, the man tried to push his way into the kitchen so Lee sprung into action and attempted to physically restrain him. Lee says he saw the man reaching for his waistband and believed he had a gun — so he slammed the guy down to the ground. Turns out, Lee’s instincts were right the guy did have a gun — which was quickly recovered by one of the cooks. Cops were called to the scene and arrested 18-year-old Arnez Harper on a count of felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
“He (my husband) used to be a bouncer when he was a young lad,” Victoria says of her hubby… “I think that guy crossed the wrong person.”

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 01/21/2014

TSCIndie-VWAA
This Wednesday, January 22nd at 8 PM Indie Night will feature Vanguard Wrestling at The Squared Circle Restaurant! Join your favorite Vanguards at The Squared Circle restaurant for VWAA Night with Lisa Marie Varon & The Shared Spandex podcast! So be sure to stop by if you are in the Chicago Area tomorrow night!

Event: Vanguard Wrestling at Indie Night
Location: The Squared Circle Restaurant
Address: 2418 N. Ashland Chicago, IL
Date & Time: January 22nd, 2014 at 8PM

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 10/16/2013

Pro wrestlers get into confrontation at Lincoln Park restaurant
By: Luis Gomez / About Last Night
Written: October 16, 2013

The customer is not always right, according to pro wrestler and The Squared Circle owner Lisa Marie Varon.

After wrestler and former Playboy cover girl and “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Maria Kanellis harassed a waitress Monday at the Squared Circle for bringing her a Diet Coke rather than a regular Coke, which she considered a jab at her weight, Varon stepped in to see what the problem was.

Kanellis, an Ottawa, Ill. native, cut her scheduled appearance at the Lincoln Park restaurant short and stormed off, which prompted Varon to yell “See you at Glory By Honor, Maria. Yeah, Steen will be kicking your fiance’s (butt).”

Glory By Honor, you see, is a wrestling event being held by the Ring of Honor promotion Oct. 26 at Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge. Kanellis’s real-life fiance, Mike Bennett, will square off against Kevin Steen. Varon, who wrestled under the name Victoria in WWE and Tara in TNA, is also scheduled to make an appearance.

“We were flattered that Maria decided to come by, but I think she was really looking to make a scene ahead of an upcoming Ring Of Honor show because she knows that we will both be there,” Varon said by email. “She can only hope that I forgive and forget, or I will slap her silly like I have done many, many times before.”

The lesson here is to order a milk shake rather than a soda at The Squared Circle. Everyone knows that.

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 06/14/2013

First stop was The Squared Circle to visit with Lisa Marie Varon (who wrestles as Tara for Impact Wrestling, formerly known as TNA). Earlier in her career, when she was with WWE, she was Victoria. It was under that identity that she faced Molly Holly in 2004 at WrestleMania XX. And took a barber’s shears to Molly Holly’s hair after Victoria was victorious in their bout.

No hard feelings were apparent Thursday when Molly (Nora Greenwald in real life) dined at Lisa Marie’s restaurant. While I waited to chat with the two lovely ladies, their WrestleMania match was being shown on the television screens at the establishment with a full house of patrons looking on.

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 04/09/2013
 
 
 04/04/2013

A killer tag team: Burgers and pizza
Pro wrestler and her husband open pizzeria in Lincoln Park
By Kevin Pang, Chicago Tribune reporter
April 4, 2013

Of all the tropes about professional wrestling, the most tiring is the one about it being fake. Here’s what’s really fake: celebrities who attach their names to restaurants, then show up twice a year to wave and pose for pictures.

How do those two statements sync up? Several weeks ago, professional wrestler Lisa Marie Varon and her husband Lee opened The Squared Circle, a pizzeria in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Your knee-jerk reaction might be, “Oh, athletes cashing in with the lowest-denominator bar food.”

There are several reasons to think this isn’t just an in-name-only cash grab for the Varons. For one, they live a few blocks away from Fullerton and Ashland, where their restaurant is. Lee Varon helped open a California Pizza Kitchen in Louisville, Ky., claims to have spun “hundreds of thousands of pizzas” in his career and mans this kitchen. And when I asked Lisa Marie Varon how she describes her job to strangers, she answered: “I own a restaurant and I’m a professional wrestler.” The order is important.

The most persuasive argument is that on a recent Saturday night, two days before a scheduled sit-down interview, I anonymously dined at the restaurant with friends. Unlike Tara, the antagonistic on-screen character she plays for TNA’s “Impact Wrestling” — in wrestling parlance, she’s considered a “heel” — real-life Lisa Marie happily snapped photos with fans, offered hugs, then sat down with customers and asked for feedback on food. She shared war stories from the wrestling road — she spent 10 years in the WWE as Victoria, where twice she held the women’s championship belt. When she left the restaurant that night, it was because she had to walk her dogs. She seemed more engaged than, say, Michael Jordan at Michael Jordan’s Steak House.

But let’s not bury the lead: The pizza and burgers at The Squared Circle are quite good, miles beyond my expectations for a pro wrestling-themed restaurant. The regular crust isn’t too dough- or yeast-heavy, doesn’t swell around the perimeter and is closer in bite to a crisp, lightly garlicked breadstick. (There’s also cracker crust and deep dish.) The underside is uniformly golden with dimples along the surface, good if you prefer hearing your pizza while biting.

The deep-dish pizza uses duck fat, which gives the bottom crust a sturdy crunch. When the square pie is baked in the 675-degree stone oven, the sides of the deep-dish pie puff up, resembling — the Varons say this was a happy coincidence — the turnbuckles in the corner of a wrestling ring. The interior of this swollen side-crust remains cotton-ball soft. I’m not a big fan of deep dish in general, only because most versions contain a half-inch layer each of sausage and cheese. By contrast, the toppings on The Squared Circle’s Hangover Helper are portioned so you’re not ingesting a meat bomb — pepperoni, toothsome diced bacon, tomato sauce and two fried eggs, their runny yolks leaching down the pizza slope.

There’s also the Kentucky Bourbon, a barbecue pizza that isn’t too cloyingly barbecue — chicken or pulled pork, mashed potatoes and a light brush stroke of a house-blended bourbon sauce.

All the burgers here pay homage to the Minnesotan “Juicy Lucy,” where the patty is stuffed with cheese before it’s cooked. I only tried one, a special that night with jalapenos, bacon and Cholula hot sauce aioli. Sadly it didn’t have that desired cheese ooze, but it was a solid effort otherwise. The patty — in between steakhouse thick and griddle-top thin — was cooked through but retained its moistness. The pickled jalapeno and hot sauce aioli is just a marvelous pairing. (Also on the menu: “Fat Elvis,” a peanut butter-stuffed burger with bananas and bacon.)

Save for the autographed tights hung on the walls and the pay-per-view bouts on the big screen, the wrestling aspect is rather subdued. Thankfully there’s no “Sausage Smackdown” or “Hulkamania Hawaiian” or any other tackily named menu items. There is, however, a menacing photo of Lisa Marie Varon by the entrance, posing angrily next to a bruised-up male opponent. She warns that your fate will be similar if you don’t tip the servers.

kpang@tribune.com
Twitter @pang

The Squared Circle
2418 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-904-8170
thesquaredcircle.biz
Hours: 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday;
11 a.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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 03/15/2013

Pro Wrestler Tara Opens Pizza & Burger Joint Updated 3 hrs ago
By Paul Biasco, DNAinfo.com, March 15, 2013 7:45am
@Paul_Biasco pbiasco@dnainfo.com

LINCOLN PARK — When Lisa Marie Varon isn’t laying the smack down inside the ring as a professional wrestler, she will be running the front of the house at her new pizza and burger joint on Ashland Avenue.

Varon’s The Squared Circle opened Thursday night at 2418 N. Ashland Ave. The name is a wrestling reference that dates to the Greco-Roman days.
The restaurant will serve New York-style thin pizzas such as the Hangover Helper topped with pepperoni, bacon and an egg, but the specialty will be the Squared Circle deep dish with a duck fat caramelized crust.

“You can’t reinvent pizza in Chicago, but we are trying to do our own take on it,” said Lee Varon, Lisa’s husband, who will be in the kitchen most nights.

Lisa Maria Varon, who goes by Tara in the ring and lives in Lincoln Park, wasn’t far from their new restaurant Thursday night during the opening, as she was performing at TNA IMPACT Wrestling which was broadcast live on Spike TV from the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

Varon wrestled in World Wrestling Entertainment under the ring name Victoria for most of the 2000s. She debuted with Total Nonstop Action as Tara in 2009.

The restaurant, which is adorned with wrestling memorabilia donated by fellow TNA stars, features a menu of her guilty pleasures: pizza and burgers.

Similar to their duck fat-take on deep dish pizza, the Varons decided to take their burgers to another level by stuffing each with cheese.

“We are kind of late to the gourmet burger race, so we are stuffing all of our burgers,” Lee Varon said.

The burgers are also topped with the cheeses, such as Merkts cheddar and gouda.

The Varons know that while wrestling fans will come in to watch pay-per-view events on the restaurant’s numerous flat screens and to see Tara, if the food is not top-notch they don’t stand a chance.
“They are going to come in to see the Jeff Hardy poster once, but only good food will bring them back,” Lee Varon said.

Lisa Marie Varon will be at the restaurant almost every day they are open, as she is only on the road for two weekends each month.

Although she won’t be making the pies every night, her first job was at a pizza place, and she has the experience, her husband said.

“She can throw some dough,” Lee Varon said.

Menu items such as the Hangover Helper pizza go for $12.50 for a small and $25 for a large. The Squared Circle duck fat deep dish pizzas cost $14 for a small and $22 for a large, plus $2 for each additional ingredient.

The burgers include the $11 Big Vic, stuffed and topped with Merkts cheddar, and the $13 Windy City, stuffed with Gouda and topped with sauteed mushrooms, onion rings, avocado, Gouda and aioli.

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 03/14/2013

TNA Wrestling’s Tara takes Chicago pizza into the Squared Circle
MARCH 14, 2013 BY: KEVIN KELLAM

Former TNA Knockout and WWE Women’s Champion Tara has answered the age old question: “When are wrestling fans going to get their very own brick-oven pizza place? “ The master of the Widow’s Peak has answered that question with a new pro wrestling themed pizza restaurant in Chicago fittingly called ‘the Squared Circle’ located at 2418 N. Ashland Avenue. The Lincoln Square dine-in spot which opens today, features a variety of pizzas, burgers, and more of the Second City’s delicious delights all with a heavy focus on pro wrestling fun.

Last night, Tara and the staff of the Squared Circle welcomed a packed-house of special guests to a grand opening party which Pro Wrestling Examiner was lucky enough to attend. An all-star cast of IMPACT stars were also on hand including Magnus, Chavo Guerrero, Matt Morgan, Robbie E, Velvet Sky, So Cal Val, Gail Kim, Joseph Parks and Brooke Hogan. The TNA talents dug into tasty pizza samples and mingled with the crowd in attendance. Tara greeted guests personally and appeared to be in great spirits with the opening.

How long have you been working on it?

Tara: A year, good lord in (Chicago) it’s pretty tough to open a business. We made offers on several locations, they never bit. They would change their minds, our this building is not zoned for a restaurant. Finally, we got a location in Lincoln Park by Depaul University. It’s pizza and burgers, my two favs. I am super excited about the menu. You have to come out and try it.

Read the entire interview with Tara at this link where she discusses the WWE Hall of Fame induction of her rival and great friend Trish Stratus

The atmosphere of the Squared Circle is perfect for wrestling fans with several collectible wrestling outfits and autographed framed photos on display. Ring gear worn by stand out wrestlers like Gail Kim, Lita, and Kurt Angle are all featured but the coolest prize was a striking glove worn by the Undertaker which hangs over the bar.

The restaurant has an inviting brick and wood interior and big bold ‘Squared Circle’ sign on the outside of the building that bares a striking resemblance to the same flag that adorns CM Punk’s ring attire.

Numerous big screen TV’s were showing TNA wrestling action during the party which is pre-cursor to the Squared Circle hosting live screenings of TNA, WWE, and UFC pay per view events. If you live in the area, make the Squared Circle your destination for pro wrestling get-togethers. Wrestling fans and pizza fanatics can find out more at http://thesquaredcircle.biz/ or by following @theSQdCircle on Twitter for more details. https://twitter.com/@theSQdCircle

TNA Wrestling has a big night on Spike TV tonight as they broadcast IMPACT live on the road for the first time from the Sears Center right outside of Chicago in Hoffman Estates. The show will feature some serious fallout from Sunday’s Lockdown Pay Per View with new TNA World Champion Bully Ray betraying Brooke Hogan and revealing himself as the leader of the evil faction, Aces & 8’s.

Pro Wrestling Examiner has exclusive coverage of TNA IMPACT in Chicago including three exclusive interviews, read them in the links posted below.

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 03/14/2013

The Squared Circle Serves Up a Delight of a Night
March 14, 2013

OK, I have to admit it: I spent the night with Brooke Hogan. All right, not the entire night. Oh, and with Christy Hemme, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky, SoCal Val and Lisa Marie Varon. Plus Robbie E, Chris Daniels, Joseph Park and a bunch of other wrestling folks.

My idea of work: Posing with Brooke Hogan was painless. Well, for me it was.
They all were at a private pre-party Wednesday (March 13) for the grand opening of The Squared Circle (2418 N. Ashland, Chicago), the restaurant owned by Lisa Marie and her husband/chef Lee. The restaurant is wrestling-themed — with memoriabilia framed on the walls alongside flat-screen televisions — but not overwhelmingly so.

The establishment will show wrestling on those TVs. Included will be the TNA Impact Wrestling live event Thursday at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates. The show is to be televised at 7 p.m. on Spike TV, so opening-night diners and/or drinkers (there is a bar area) will be able to take in the wrestling action.

Because the TNA Impact Wrestling action actually will be showing one card live and taping another, Lisa Marie and her colleagues are unlikely to make an encore trip to the restaurant Thursday before it closes at midnight.

Meanwhile, back to Wednesday night. Also attending were some members of the media. Included were Rich Koz (aka Svengoolie of TV fame), Luis Gomez of the Chicago Tribune and Elliott Serrano of Redeye, another Tribune property.

Also present and chronicling some of the evening’s events was filmmaker Matt Goldberg, whose movie “Tarafied” has been submitted to the Cannes Film Festival. And before anyone scoffs at that notion, let the record show Goldberg had an entry in 2012 at Cannes.

Goldberg has the knack for capturing the action and activity without being intrusive. One example occurred when Brooke arrived with a gift for Lisa Marie (known in TNA circles — or rings — as Tara). Brooke brought a little bag whose distinctive color indicated it was from Tiffany. Inside was a small box. Inside the small box was a smaller trademark Tiffany bag.

Lisa Marie carefully opened the present that included Tiffany tissue and a white ribbon around the book. Inside the bag was a necklace (you can see it in the accompanying video that Lisa Marie was gracious enough to submit to after an evening of meeting and mingling with her friends and assorted guests).

Goldberg blended into the woodwork — well, close to it — and captured the moment. Can’t wait to see where that video footage ends up.

Toward the end of the evening’s festivities, your humble correspondent approached Christy Hemme and reminded her of having escorted her to the ring at TNA’s 2008 “Bound for Glory” event, also at the Sears Centre. She feigned remembering our previous relationship. Can’t imagine why. At the very least, one of us recalled the moment and called it one of the highlights of his life.

Well, Christy still was/is a good sport and consented to posing with Velvet Sky for a photo (there it is toward the top of today’s posting).

Meanwhile back to Brooke Hogan. She is attractive and tall (especially in 4-inch heels, or however high they were) and seemed in good spirits. She even performed waitress duties by bringing a round of drinks to the table where she and some of her female cohorts were stationed.

Brooke also was a good sport and posed for a photo with yours truly — with Lisa Marie taking the picture.

If all this sounds a bit surreal, the reason is simple: It is. Was. Always will be. Was there an hour or two of waiting for that moment to occur? Indeed. Does anyone really care? Nope. Certainly not me.

***
Here is the interview that Lisa Marie Varon was gracious enough to do after a busy evening at The Squared Circle:

***

* Speaking of Lisa Marie Varon, she will be a guest on “Sports & Torts” on Thursday (March 14) at noon Chicago time on talkzone.com with co-hosts David Spada and Elliott Harris. Because she has to be at the Sears Centre before noon to prepare for the TNA Impact Wrestling event at night, the interview with her is taped. For those who miss the original “Sports & Torts” broadcast, it will become available on podcast later in the day.

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 02/26/2013

Tara Opens “The Squared Circle” Restaurant in Chicago
BUSINESS OWNER BY DAY, PRO WRESTLER BY NIGHT… CHICAGO’S LISA MARIE VARON (TARA) OPENS THE SQUARED CIRCLE

A new pizzeria is taking shape in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and the owner is professional wrestler Lisa Marie Varon. The Squared Circle, which is a term often used by wrestling promoters to refer to the ring, is located at 2418 North Ashland and will feature house-ground burgers, brick oven style pizzas and a full bar.

Formerly Leon’s Ribs, The Squared Circle will accommodate approximately 48 patrons in addition to 15 seats in the bar area. Autographed wrestling memorabilia will adorn the walls and TV’s will showcase live sports including wrestling pay-per-views.

Varon’s husband Lee, will head up the kitchen which will include a custom-built brick oven.

“I could not be more excited about returning to chicago, and about bringing my concept to one of the greatest food cities in the world,” explains Varon.

Varon is currently on board with TNA’s Impact Wrestling as “Tara” where she is one of their biggest stars and can be seen every Thursday night at Spike TV.

On Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 pm she will join wrestlers Hulk Hogan, The Icon Sting, Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Velvet Sky and many more to perform at Impact Wrestling at The Sears Centre at 7:00pm. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

The Squared Circle will be open for business beginning Thursday, March 14th.

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 12/26/2012

More on Lisa Marie Varon’s Wrestling Project
Wednesday, December 26, 2012, by Daniel Gerzina

The pizzeria and bar helmed by TNA Impact wrestling champion Lisa Marie Varon and her husband Lee now has a name, and Varon has shared more details on the space. The Squared Circle (wrestling slang for the ring) will start with a soft opening in late-February/early-March. The space holds 60 seated-patrons plus standing-room, which will be adorned with wrestling decor like autographed memorabilia and TVs screening wrestling pay-per-view and other live sports. Varon says wrestlers will swing by, so practice your choke holds and chair throws.

Nashville chef Chris Mason will run the kitchen, featuring his house-ground burgers. A custom-built brick oven will crank out New York-style pies. There will also be a full bar.

Varon says she wants to bring the wrestling environment and energy to The Squared Circle. “I want people to come back for the amazing food, not just the wrestling aspect,” the former South Beach bartender says. She talked about professional wrestling’s “pre-determined outcome,” she’s hoping The Squared Circle will have a pre-determined positive outcome too.

Source:
// Chicago Eater

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 10/18/2012

Pro wrestler opening pizza restaurant in Lincoln Park
Luis Gomez, About Last Night
9:34 am, October 18, 2012

Lisa Maria Varon — known as Tara in TNA Wrestling and Victoria during her WWE days — is getting back into the pizza business.

The 41-year-old professional wrestler previously owned a pizza restaurant in Kentucky in 2007 before selling it and now has plans to open another in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in January or February. The restaurant will be located at 2418 N. Ashland, which was previously Leon’s Ribs.

“We’re sticking with what we know, with where we’ve previously had success,” Varon told me by email Wednesday. “We’re focusing on artisanal brick oven pizza. Everything (will be) made on premise: the dough, a fifth generation sauce, fresh local ingredients. And then house blend burgers: hormone and antibiotic free beef, ground in house.”

Varon won the TNA Women’s Knockouts Championship Sunday at TNA’s biggest pay per view of the year, Bound For Glory, and is scheduled to appear on MTV’s “Made” this week. She also said she is the subject of a documentary currently being filmed by director Matt Goldberg. But even with her busy schedule, she insists you will be able to find her at her restaurant every week once it opens.

“This is not a pet project for me,” Varon said. “This is my job. I will continue to travel a couple days a week for wrestling, but I will be in the restaurant several days a week.”

And how much longer does the five-time TNA Knockouts Champion expect to wrestle?

“I get the ‘how much longer’ question in every interview nowadays,” Varon said. “I get it. I’m 41 in an industry where girls breaking in are half my age. My perspective is, I feel great, I think I look great, I put on outstanding matches for the fans, I bring out the best in my opponents, and most importantly, I am having a blast.”

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