Fannie May celebrates National Chocolate Day

In some form, I do eat chocolate everyday; truly my own passion that I will not give up. On October 28th, National Chocolate Day celebrates anything chocolate; which has been now recognized as one of Americans favorite flavors. Actually, the taste of chocolate has become a world favorite; the reason for a national holiday.  A wonderful treat; only a few days before Halloween!

And chocolate is good for your health since research has found that it may decrease blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline. Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidants. Therefore, the best way to celebrate National Chocolate Day is to purchase a premier box of fine chocolates made by Fannie May! Almost 100 years old, Fannie May continues to be known as the finest in gourmet chocolate as well as a Chicago icon.

Their first retail store opened in 1920 on LaSalle street in Chicago. In fact, for decades, Fannie May has always been a Chicago favorite to celebrate any holiday. Now, some of their best sellers will be coming soon on Amazon but still available in retail stores along with other customer favorites.

To celebrate this most delicious holiday next week, Fannie May will be holding an event featuring a variety of discounts and sampling for all to enjoy. Discounts include:·

40% off 1 lb of Colonial Assortments (A collection of Fannie May favorites including fresh nut clusters, crunchy toffee, luscious butter creams, Pixies, Trinidads, & more…)

  • 15% off Entire Purchase
  • BOGO– Hot Chocolate
  • MORE….

Fanny May is truly a premium chocolate expert, crafting superb chocolates with love and the very best ingredients. They make over 100 different confections and continue to develop delectable flavors for customers.

Ten of the most haunted Chicago/ Illinois bars

Excalibur /Chicago Castle,the nightclub dates back to the late 1800s and was the original location of the Chicago History Museum. With its three levels and 60,000 square feet of adult entertainment, it is a Gothic graystone located at the corner of Dearborn and Ontario. It is a designated landmark building and used to be the Chicago Historical Society. It closed as the Excalibur in 2012. Most recently the Tao Group opened its signature Hybrid Asian Cuisine/ Nightclub in the location in September of 2018.Tao operates on the 2nd floor. Many employees felt the place was haunted and it has been filmed on a variety of paranormal shows.

Websters Wine Bar located at a 2601 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago is said to be haunted by a lumberjack from the early 1900’s and has been seen in the party room on the second floor. Websters has a comprehensive global wine list and a great menu of small dishes, salads and cheeses.

Red Lion Pub is on the north side of Chicago at 2446 North Lincoln Avenue. Now a more upscale neighborhood, according to Haunted Houses people have died in the building including a woman who died from an epileptic seizure, a mentally challenged woman, a young cowboy, and another male entity according to ghost experts. These spirits walk the floors of the restaurant to name just a few.

Bucktown Pub was established in 1933 and a very typical, cozy tavern with creamy, draught beer. According to TrueIllinoisHaunts.com, the pub is believed to be haunted by the site’s former owner who committed suicide in 1986 and whose spirit apparently thinks he still runs the place. Napkins are re-arranged and sometimes the jukebox goes on and off.

Liars Club located at 1665 West Fullerton is supposedly haunted by a women who was killed by her husband. They lived in the apartment above the bar. One employee actually saw an illusion leaning against the bar and some have been tugged on their arm but no one is there. This unique club was formerly known as the River East. The club is located between Clybourn and the Metra tracks on Fullerton.

Country House in Clarendon Hills is a two story building erected in 1922 as a place for locals to congregate for drinks, food, and good conversation. In 1974 during a meeting with a contractor to renovate the restaurant the men were sitting in the bar and shutters on the windows opened without human contact displaying shafts of light. Other workers have seen dishes move and have heard moaning in the walls. Others have actually seen a woman who they call the lady in blue.

Chets Melody Lounge  The bar got its name from Chet Prusinski in 1963 and is located at 7400 Archer Avenue in Justice. Of course, it is the famous Resurrection Mary that many wait to show up at the bar since those that have seen the ghost in the past run for a drink at the bar, also across the street from Mary’s home, Resurrection Cemetery. The Ghost Research Society has investigated the bar last year.

Cigars and Stripes is a bar in Berwyn Illinois featuring some of the best barbeque and a cigar store. But paranormal experts say that something haunted is going on according to Legends of America. There are many accounts of glass falling off shelves and the phone receiver being picked up and put down. People are actually watching it happen and hearing things as well.

Irish Legend is located in Willow Springs on Archer and has an exceptional menu of Irish classics. According to Only in Your State, It was originally built in the 1920s as O’Henry’s Roadhouse which was a speakeasy with ties to vintage mobsters like Al Capone, who was known for having people killed and then hiding the bodies. According to employees and the owner, things get re-arranged at the pub and restaurant.

The Great Escape restaurant at 9540 Irving Park Road in Schiller Park began in 1889. The bar and banquet room are still part of the original structure and on the website, there is a whole section dedicated to the haunting s that have occurred. Old fashioned music is heard from the 1920’s, there are cold spots and sometimes you feel someone standing right next to you. The Chicago Paranormal Detectives was invited to have the full 10 person paranormal team come in and spend the night investigating. Visit to find out what they discovered.

National Pizza Day: May 17th

By Caryl Clem

An eating experience can be life changing; food delicious beyond description develops into a craving that will shape your future restaurant choices. My first time going to Pizzeria Uno on Wabash and Ohio streets convinced me that the very finest pizza in all of Chicago was served there. From the moment I entered the dining room, all my senses were on fire smelling, tasting, touching, swallowing, hearing fragments of chatter while observing the oozing cheese and array of toppings to devour. I broke every proper eating mannerism, eating with your fingers, taking as many servings as possible, practically gulping down every morsel.  Instantly, I became a deep dish pizza fan.

Discovering the inventions and trends that came from Chicago is an actual job. The city of Chicago’s cultural historian, Tim Samuelson, researched the origins of deep dish pizza. A transit from Texas University, former lineman Ike Sewell teamed with Italian-American Ric Riccardo, a food business operator working with Chef Adolpho Malnati Sr. to create a round dish pie pizza baked upside down in 1943. The popular new version of pizza led to a second location named Pizzeria Due opening in 1955.  Alice May Redmond and her sister Ruth Hadley were chefs in the early days. Chicago style deep dish pizza becomes loved from coast to coast. Today all the chefs families have opened their own versions of restaurants serving pizza.  Opening in 1966, another thick crust Chicago favorite formed by two brothers Rosario and Francesca Salerno opened their family business, Salerno’s on 16th Street.  Chicagoans have loyally supported them over fifty years enjoying a tantalizing array Italian food based on family recipes.

While exploring pizza information, I was surprised to discover thin crust has won the majority of business for decades, currently at 61 %.   There are over 8 crust thicknesses and varied name styles from California, St. Louis, New York City, Sicilian and Napoleon. You can become a pizza connoisseur traveling around Chicago by reading this article in TimeOut Chicago.

For the calorie counter pizza consumer, the same amount of flour goes into each crust; the leavening agent determines the thickness. The crust can be dominantly corn, gluten free, or grains. Leaving off the meat reduces artery plugging animal fats. Deep dish pizza has less meat fat per serving. Pizza cheese is low in fat compared to burger cheese flavors. Pizza is better for you than a Big Mac or bucket of crispy fried chicken.  Celebrate ending another week at work and go out for a pizza on National Pizza Party Day.

Savor the flavor of salad: Some Chicago suggestions

By Caryl Clem

May is National Salad Month.  Salad today is nothing like my past memories. Dining expectations of the 1950’s and 1960’s glorified home cooking producing mouthwatering spreads.  We read Woman’s Day and Family Circle to preview the featured recipes.  I can still picture the mounds of salad vegetables and fruit surrounded by various Jell-O combinations. Nothing like sugar encased salad ingredients for health and nutrition. Cookbook salad instruction included mayonnaise and cream based dressings.  In a rush to fix a filling lunch salad, just take anything out of the refrigerator such as eggs, potatoes or leftover chicken, add mayonnaise and a few extras such as mustard or pickle relish.  Salads slid down your throat.

By the 1970’s, Food and Nutrition experts are trying to warn Americans about the dangers of poor eating habits.  The wrong foods increase heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, arthritis, and obesity to name a few. Carbs that taste so good in French fries, garlic bread and pasta are to be avoided.  Sugar dulls mental activity. What is left to satisfy an appetite in the good food group? Meals with half a plate filled with most vegetables and fruits according to Harvard studies.

Chicago restaurant entrepreneurs, Rich Melman with his partner Jerry Orzoff, opened the first salad bar Lettuce Entertain You, at RJ Grunts, in 1971 in Lincoln Park. Forty years later, his successful company operates many restaurants.

Salads can be satisfying, healthy, and scrumptious. A great salad has various textures and colors. Dowse you salads oil and vinegar dressings that actually aid in releasing the nutrients. I love ranch dressing so I do a light version thinned with skim milk.  Ingredient choices to balance food groups is the key to success and flavor. Dump the myth a salad is 75% lettuce, endive, or kale.  Try different bases, string beans, or grate a carrot bed topped with healthy foods you enjoy.  Better Nutrition magazine was founded by Jack Schwartz educating readers about food choices. Several articles boost about salads as a premier experience. Spoon University offers suggestions concerning the restaurants in Chicago that offer the best salad.

Feel like biting into a meal that improves your lifestyle or maintains wellness; bring out the cutting board and salad bowl. In a study conducted in by 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, these benefits were documented:

  • Eating a salad a day is directly correlated with higher nutrient levels.
  • Adding salad dressing to a salad increases the absorption of certain nutrients being consumed.
  • The fat in salad dressing helps absorb key nutrients such as lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene.
  • People who eat salads, salad dressing, and raw vegetables are more likely to meet recommended intakes for vitamins C, E and folic acid.
  • High fruit and vegetable consumption has also been associated with lower rates of pre-menopausal bone loss in women.
  • Consumption of as little as one serving of salad or raw vegetables per day is significantly associated with the likelihood of meeting the recommended nutrient intakes of each of vitamins A, E, B6, and folic acid.

Bon Appetite!!

Chicago beer consumption: Raise a glass toasting National Beer Day April 7th

By Caryl Clem:

Reflecting on American traditions, my mind travels back to stories of Johnny Appleseed and George Washington cutting down a cherry tree as told in the McGuffey Readers.  To my surprise, I just read that George Washington created his own beer recipe and owned the largest producing brewery. Since George was a military buff, he must have taken seriously Napoleon’s quote about beer, “On victory you deserve beer, and on defeat you need one.”Several founding fathers were beer fans, the beer industry outpaced whiskey consumption during colonial times.

During the 1800’s beer production was in full swing, a beer culture was thriving. Harvard had its own brewery run by undergraduates.  In 1873, statistics prove the growth in beer production; over 4,000 breweries are in operation.  Beer giants, Anheuser Busch, Pabst Brewing Company and (Fred) Miller Brewing Company were the favorites. German flavored lagers outsold British recipe ales.

After the Chicago fire, Fred Miller sent 25 beer filled trains daily to quench Chicago beer drinkers thirst.  He opened a Chicago Branch Brewery in 1875 which sold more than his home base Milwaukee location.  By 2000, Anheuser-Busch and Miller’s with Colorado based Coors ranking third. Coors is the only major brewery to be family owned and controlled sticking to their recipe demanding Colorado spring water.  Until 1981, it was not legal to sell Coors past the Mississippi. In 2008, the second place and third place production breweries merge to reduce costs creating MillerCoors beers.

The Prohibition Days introduced near beer substitutes and underground moonshine bootlegging leaving beer drinkers wanting more flavor. In 1933, passes Cullen-Harrison Act on April 7 reestablishing the 3.2 % alcohol by weight limit as legal. Beer is served mostly on tap. By 1877, American breweries were employing the “steaming process” that allows beer in a bottle to retain clarity. Bottled beer was more expensive and considered a luxury. In 1935, American Can Company starts canning beer and by 1969 it is outselling bottled beer. In 1975, Jimmy Carter legalizes brewing beer at home inspiring DYI drinkers to create their own versions.

Beer consumption in Chicago is thriving. One. seven breweries per 100,000 people  are competing for your empty glass. Chicago has the largest variety of beer tasting possibilities than anywhere in the U.S. The Chicago Tribune supplies a link to discover all the available locations. Not only can a click reveal where to go in Chicago, there is a Chicago beer festival event calendar.

For all of you beer enthusiasts, Chicago is full of opportunities. As my favorite beer quote states, “A fine beer can be judged by a sip but it’s better to be thoroughly sure”, Czech proverb.

Chicago land Miller’s Pub and the Italian Village

My first time at Millers Pub on Wabash in Chicago was in the late 1970s and a group of us was having a night cap after a play. I think the play was Send in the Clowns. Though I wasn’t a beer drinker, other drinks just didn’t seem appropriate so I had a beer that tasted better than most. It was later that I had dinner before the theater as they actually promote. In 1950, three brothers of Greek descent, Pete, Nick and Jimmy Gallios, pooled all of their resources and purchased the flailing Miller’s Pub from the Miller brothers, who had established the bar in 1935. After the purchase, the Gallios brothers did not have the $500 it would have cost to change the sign on the pub, so the name Miller’s remained.

Many celebrities have frequented the pub and celebrity photos grace the walls along with authentic oil paints. The family still owns Millers and thousands continue to enjoy an exquisite beer collection as well as extensive menu. Jimmy Durante never came to town without stopping by for some figs & cream- he didn’t drink. Millers is open until 4am that is why it is a great stop after the shows for even coffee and dessert.

It was in the upstairs restaurant with the beautiful wall design and Italian lights that I first visited the Italian village, built in 1927, the oldest Chicago restaurant. It was a date in the 1970s, the perfect elegance for romance. I don’t remember what I ate but always favored the wine.

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Italian Village is home to three restaurants, each with its own chef, menu specialties and unique ambiance. Italian Village’s origins began on September 20, 1927, when Alfredo Capitanini opened the doors to what would soon become a Chicago landmark. Italian Village was kept in the Capitanini family, and in 1955, the second generation of Capitaninis opened the doors to their second restaurant, La Cantina, in the lower floor of the Italian Village building.  Mom liked that restaurant best and it was here that we shared special field trips. With business doing so well for the Capitanini family, they decided to open one more restaurant in their Italian Village building called The Florentine Room now called Vivere, focusing on true gourmet.

As we visited Miller’s pub after the show, the Italian Village offers a great before the theatre menu including lasagna, their house specialty and always my favorite.

 

Saluting lovers of peanut butter

By Caryl Clem:

Savored American foods have a special recognition day.  I felt guilty about missing one of my favorite all American foods on its special day January 24th.  After reading the holiday list for March, I discovered my chance at redemption.  March 1st is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day.  My favorite 1950’s lunch, a peanut butter and banana sandwich nestled in my brown lunch bag alongside an apple and a homemade cookie. I refused to eat pink, slippery meat or anything that came out of a can. Even when high school offered cafeteria food, I kept a jar of peanut butter in my locker as a backup against hunger. I had learned that during World War I and II, peanut butter sandwiches were a military staple. The icon, Mr. Peanut, was shown wearing a uniform during WWII ads.  Today, Care Package Instructions for our honorable soldiers still suggest a jar of peanut butter.

We peanut butter lovers can claim kinship with Elvis, The King, who would fly a private jet to a restaurant in Colorado that featured his favorite peanut butter sandwich concoction on its menu. Even though the restaurant is closed, our modern social information network offers several how to video’s on YouTube explaining how to create Elvis’s Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon sandwich. Remember the detective Colombo’s trench coat with deep pockets he would slip food into during his scenes?  His snacks included hard boiled eggs, peanut butter with raisins sandwich or chili.  If you are a devoted older fan of peanut butter, join the adult Peanut Butter Lover’s Fan Club, and read posts from celebrities written by Texas hauntings.  Current celebrities range from Tom Selleck , Barbara Walters, Billy Joel, to Madonna.

John Harvey Kellogg (founder of Kellogg cereal) patented the first process for making peanut butter in 1895 by steaming the nuts and served it to his patients at his sanitarium. By 1897, the magazine, Popular Science News did an article covering “Recent inventions” suggesting that peanut butter could be used in cooking just as a shortening replacing butter or lard.  By 1902, a Mrs. Rore in her New Cook Book, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania published a peanut butter cookie recipe.  At the 1904 World’s Fair, D.H. Sumner successfully sold a peanut butter treat at his concession stand. New methods evolve, a Californian patents churning peanut butter and using roasted nuts improves the taste.

As a source of protein that was economical and tasty, in 1927 Peter Pan Peanut Butter was noted as one of the most popular snacks for that year. Are you a crunchy or creamy fan? The West section of the U.S. and males usually favors crunchy style while the Eastern section and females favor creamy.  Peanut butter becomes the new star in a cookie recipe dessert in 1932 published The Schenectady Gazette. A section of the cooking instructions includes the distinctive fork crisscross technique used to flatten the peanut butter cookie mound, to ensure evenly distributing the heat while baking.

Proving the popularity of peanut butter cookies today is the statistic from the National Peanut Board reporting 230,000 pounds of peanut butter are used a week to bake the Girl Scouts Do-si-do’s and Tagalongs.  Pillsbury recommends the best recipes for peanut butter cookies in 1933 and 1936. The Peanut Blossom claims fame in 1999 in the Pillsbury Hall of Fame Bake-Off. This recipe was from Freda Smith of Ohio who had no chocolate chips to add to her peanut butter/chocolate chip cookie recipe so she topped the mound with a Hershey Kiss.

Saving the best for last, Peanut butter (or its taste cousin flavor blending caramel and peanuts) with chocolate lay next to each other in a candy bar. Love and marriage mates in the candy world, ingredients that stick together with ease.  According to current Google statistics, Number 1 candy bar debut in 1930 named after horse-Snickers, closely followed by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup first invented in 1923 by a Hershey employee. To keep his invention from being stolen, Reese first appeared in vending machines. By the 1940’s Reese started commanding the store market. Butterfinger bars were dropped from planes to introduce the new candy. Babe Ruth from the same candy company as Butterfinger comes in last. In an age of changing food tastes, candy bars created nearly 100 years ago are going strong.

The standard composition for peanut butter requires 90% no matter what your brand choice.  The oldest peanut butter company, Krema Products Company, is still operating in Columbus, Ohio. No matter what you combine peanut butter with; you will never have to worry about biting off more than you can chew.  Holidays celebrating the influence of the peanut include,  National Peanut Butter Day-January 24,Peanut Butter and Jelly Day-April 2  (https://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/pinstripes-peanut-butter-jelly-menu/032718),Peanut Butter Cookie Day-June 12,Mr. Peanut Day-April 20, Peanut Butter Cookie Day-June 12 Peanut Butter Month-November

Honoring black history

By Caryl Clem:

Chicago has been the front stage for introducing life changing famous black trail blazers. The first street in a major city to be named after a black women civil rights activist and journalist, Ida B. Wells was dedicated on February 11, 2019.  The last street change was done in 1968 to honor Martin Luther King.  In the magazine, “ Make It Better” February 2019 edition, on the list of what to do in Chicago is the new exhibit at the Museum entitled, “Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade 1808-1865 featuring free Saturdays February 9.16, and 23.  Celebrating Black History Month includes recognizing the dynamic black women leaders who make a difference in Chicago. Last year, this magazine did a feature article describing 42 influential black women in Chicago in all career fields.

Since artistic expression is a major tourist attraction for Chicago, several noteworthy black women are leading the way.  Currently, the Deputy Director of Development at Chicago’s Contemporary Art Museum is Gwendolyn Perry Davis. Last year, she promoted an exhibit of Howardena  Pindell, a black women pioneer in abstract art. Ms. Pindell is famous for her techniques working with circles. The interview begins with this quote, “All the pieces … are an attempt to unite my mind again, to mend the rupture.”—Howardena Pindell.  She was troubled as a child to notice the  red circles drawn beneath the dishes her family ate on when dining out on vacation trips. During this interview, titled Controlled Chaos by Jessica Lanay, Ms. Pindell explains why she wanted to change how circles influenced her life.

Perri L. Irmer is the President  & CEO of DuSable Museum of African-American History, a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. Ms.Irmer stated in the magazine article, “The DuSable Museum is elevating the often hidden histories of Chicagoans such as Jean Baptiste Point DuSable — the Haitian immigrant who founded our city — military leaders, educators, and other black Chicagoan’s whose contributions are illustrative of black accomplishment throughout society.”

The political landscape of Chicago has been shaped by twenty famous black women and men. A comprehensive description covering their various contributions from Jesse White, Chief Jude Timothy Evana, Barrack Obama and Emil Jones, Jr. a Kimberly Foxx, Toni Preckwinkle to name a few examples in Chicago Defender’s Top 20 Most Influential Political Figures by Mary L. Datcher, Managing Editor for Chicago Defender.

If you want to explore a well-known black neighborhood gathering place, take a trip to a non-profit café with a welcoming atmosphere that encourages conversation and friendship, Kusanya Café 825 W. 69th Street  Chicago  773-675-4758.  In Englewood, a rustic chic coffee shop nestled inside a 100 year old building, surrounded by the art work of local artists, it is a haven offering a safe place to meet and enjoy life.

As described in an article describing the café,” Kusanya is home to a variety of free, community-driven arts, culture, and educational events, including Saturday morning yoga, a farmers market on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 4-6 p.m., and an open mic on second Saturdays featuring storytellers from around the neighborhood and across the city.”

The tapestry of Chicago life has been made richer in texture by its black men and women. Chicago offers many opportunities to celebrate Black History in Chicago.

Rush Street Chicago: Yesterday and today

My aunt always told me that my grandmother Amelia owned part of Rush Street in the early 1900’s. She said it was located near the Rush street bridge. Though I had heard this story as a child, wasn’t sure what to ask and my Aunt died in the late 1990’s. Other family members have never confirmed the reality. That was the first time I heard about Rush Street.

It wasn’t until the 70’s and early 1980’s that I heard about Rush with an invitation to go party and drink. This was the Las Vegas of Chicago even more popular in the early years before I was able to drink.  The most popular places I visited was Faces but I probably spent more time on Division Street at the Original Mothers and Butch McGuires, the latter that opened in 1961.

The following describes some of the popular places on Rush; yesterday and today:

Whiskey Go Go is still a nightclub in California and has opened the doors for many including the Doors, Van Halen and Steppenwolf. The first opened in 1958 at the corner of Rush and Chestnut in Chicago.

The Backroom a great jazz and blues venue and probably one of the oldest jazz club that began in the 1960’s. It continued on into the 70’s and 1980’s. Musicians specializing mostly in jazz but also touching on soul, funk, R&B and blues, play on an elevated stage on the east side of the room and under a most impressive sculpture created from brass horns, to match the column-like structure that looks like a coatrack made of horns near the southeast corner of the room.

The Happy Medium  was built in 1960, located at Rush and Delaware, which was a combination theater and disco. Helen Reddy actually stared at the club. The owners, George and Oscar Marienthal, also owned Mister Kellys, also on Rush and the London House. The London house opened downtown Chicago in 1946 and created the popularity of jazz musicians including Ramsey Lewis.

Punchinellos was a theatre bar and again celebrities such as Barry Manilow and Della Reese would frequent the bar.

Mister Kellys was launched in 1956 and was truly the leading example of night club celebrity elegance, combining music with comedy, which included the beginnings of Bill Cosby, Bette Midler, Woody Allen and Barbra Steisand. Mr. Kellys was restaurant that also featured the best steak and their famous green goddess salad.

Rush up another bar where many talk of meeting Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa.

Faces opened in the early 1970’s and you could become a member of the club for 50 dollars. I went to Faces a couple of times in the lates 70’s and not sure how I got in, but it was loud though fun for dancing compared to many clubs in Chicago. This was supposedly the best place to meet and greet.

Today,  some of the best bars and restaurants include the following:

Pippins: A great Irish pub with an excellent hotdog, serving from the Downtown Dogs next door, and an extensive beer selection. Pippins has been a part of the Rush Street scene for over 45 years and offers a very authentic Irish experience.

Hugos Frog Bar: Also located in Naperville, Hugos offers excellent mussels and oysters on the half shell including an expansive wine list sharing with the iconic Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse. Gibsons is the first restaurant group to be awarded its own USDA Prime Certification

Tavern on Rush: A great bar and restaurant with a DJ located in the heart of Rush street. They are known for the best calamari and excellent horseshoe bar along with split level seating.

Jellyfish:  Located on the second floor across the street from Hugos and Gibsons, this is a great place for enjoying the cuisines of several countries that include Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. From 3-6pm, you can experience signature cocktails during happy hours.

Do you remember the Edgewater Beach Hotel?

My friends father was a stagehand for a few years during the 1940’s. He helped take the stage curtain down to replace, clean and helped with lights for live shows. His father was a kid then and would sometimes also help in the radio booth since a radio program did evolve from the hotel.  It was a strictly formal environment even though he had to get his hands dirty sometimes. He met Zsa, Zsa Gabor, Debbie Reynolds, Vic Damone as well as many other headliners.  The dining room, alone, could seat over one thousand people. He worked there for about four years. My parents also stayed their for relaxation to celebrate the new year and to see my mother’s favorite, the Tommy Dorsey Band. As WTTW tells us, it was a Chicago landmark — a lavish pink resort that stood on the lakefront at Sheridan near Foster for almost half a century. The Edgewater Beach Hotel has been closed since 1967, yet the memories linger on.

The hotel was huge and besides the hotel’s own radio station, a precursor to WGN with the call letters WEBH, there was a heliport, a print shop and a movie theater. It opened  on June 3, 1916 and anyone who was a star sang and danced at the hotel.  In the winter months, the bands played in the Marine Dining Room and, in the summer months, outdoors on the marble-tiled Beach Walk. Many parents of friends celebrated their proms or attended wedding receptions. Many visited taking romantic walks on the massive private beach.

According to Wikipedia, The 1951–54 extension of Lake Shore Drive from Foster Avenue to Hollywood Avenue reduced direct access to Lake Michigan, leading to a reduction in business. After the hotel was cut off from the lake by the new drive, a swimming pool was added in 1953. In 1960, in order to compete with popular downtown hotels, the Edgewater Beach underwent a $900,000 renovation which included the installation of air conditioning. King gave a major address at the conference to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the hotel. The hotel closed in 1967 due to financial reasons. Demolition of the hotel complex began in the fall of 1969 and was completed by 1971.

However, a portion of the complex is still available to visit. In 1994, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and also belongs in the Bryn Mawr Historic District. Currently known as the Edgewater Beach apartments, there is still a lush foyer, a small library, a cafe, private gardens and a indoor pool.