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What was your favorite Chicago food as a kid?

What was your favorite Chicago food as a kid?
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  • Post #61 - June 17th, 2019, 6:17 am
    Post #61 - June 17th, 2019, 6:17 am Post #61 - June 17th, 2019, 6:17 am
    Here's my take on the "original" locations of a couple local burger favorites.

    Willkat98 wrote:59th and Kedzie means we grew up with Nicky's hot dogs at 58th and Kedzie. The original home of the Big Baby. I know it has been nitpicked to death over which location has the best version, but in the 1970's, I had access to the only version. I could tell you all about how Nicky's was in the 5700 block, next to the auto repair place and the hair salon school, but those got bought out by McDonalds expansion and Nicky's moved into the former Winchells donuts next to Meyer foods.

    I think the Nicky's at 58th & Kedzie, opened in the late 1960s, was the third location. The first was at 7509 W 63rd (in Summit), followed by 6142 S Archer (at Austin). I believe all three (and more?) were simultaneously open and selling Big Babies in the 1970s. The early history of the 58th & Kedzie location was touched on almost 15 years ago in this Big Baby thread:

    It opened in 1969 as a little diner on the northeast corner of 58th and Kedzie, a block north of the Colony Theater and the original Gertie's Ice Cream Parlor (actually it started a little before that but was bought by its current owner in 1969). In 1981 it moved across the street to its current larger quarters on the southeast corner of 58th and Kedzie. Originally it had a simple yellow and white keystone-shaped sign but the new sign (a more stylized keystone) features a distinctive turquoise and pink combination and the interior has plenty of the same colors. The menu contains many of the Chicago fast food standards such as hot dogs, gyros, ribs, and Italian beef but the Big Baby remains Nicky's signature item. I assume the Big Baby was a response to McDonald's hugely successful introduction of the Big Mac in 1968.


    I wrote the following before I saw BrendanR's post above. I decided to post it, even though it repeats much of what he wrote.

    lougord99 wrote:
    Jazzfood wrote:
    lougord99 wrote:A McDonalds hamburger from the original McDonalds on Waukegan.

    The original was in Des Plaines on River Rd I believe.

    You are correct. I’m bummed.

    The first McDonald's in Illinois opened in April 1955 at 400 N Lee St, a bit south of the junction of River Rd and Rand Rd. It was the ninth McDonald's overall, but the first franchise after Ray Kroc became involved. The first McDonald's franchise (May 1953; second overall) was in Phoenix. The third McDonald's still stands in Downey CA, virtually unchanged since August 1953. The company's early history is a complicated topic, in no small part because of Mr Kroc's seeming inability to acknowledge the business existed before he became involved. In the mid-1980s the company built a replica of the 1955 building on the site of the ninth store and fancifully named it "McDonald's No. 1 Store Museum." They demolished it in 2018. A brief discussion of the early locations can be found here.
  • Post #62 - June 18th, 2019, 9:00 am
    Post #62 - June 18th, 2019, 9:00 am Post #62 - June 18th, 2019, 9:00 am
    The OLDEST commercially prepared food I remember, not in Chicago, but if can anybody tell me if it was available here, please do so. Or just if anybody else remembers it anywhere, I have not met anybody who remembers it.

    It was an individual serving of ice cream, aka dixie cup size, but packaged in a folded cardboard box like pints were sold. Made me feel like I was getting a whole pint to myself, I guess. Just more fun than the dixie cups. I had these in Los Angeles near the Unversity of Southern California about 1954-55.
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #63 - June 18th, 2019, 9:51 am
    Post #63 - June 18th, 2019, 9:51 am Post #63 - June 18th, 2019, 9:51 am
    Wow! What great responses. I wish I could respond to every single one of them. But I'll just say so many of these resonate with me as well.

    I'll add a few more that came to mind after I first posted this:
    1. Phil Smidt & Sons Restaurant. The restaurant was in Indiana, but so close to the border, it had a 312 number. My mom was a waitress there my entire childhood and some of my adult life. But actually going there to eat was SUPER special because it was so pricey, and of course, my mom didn't really want to be there on her days off. The frog legs were amazing. For my 10th birthday (1983), my mom delivered a full frog leg dinner (complete with the relishes) to me at school for lunch. The other kids FREAKED out that I eat frogs and I freaked out that they didn't. One of my best childhood memories ever.

    2. Connie's Pizza on Archer. It was another special treat to head to Connie's, but we went maybe once a year.

    3. Chinatown restaurant. After Sox games, we always went out for Chinese food in Chinatown. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was on the second floor and had a huge dining room. It was the first time I had egg foo young--probably around age 5 or 6--and it's been my go-to ever since.
    “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” ―Erma Bombeck
  • Post #64 - June 18th, 2019, 11:09 am
    Post #64 - June 18th, 2019, 11:09 am Post #64 - June 18th, 2019, 11:09 am
    diversedancer wrote:The OLDEST commercially prepared food I remember, not in Chicago, but if can anybody tell me if it was available here, please do so. Or just if anybody else remembers it anywhere, I have not met anybody who remembers it.

    It was an individual serving of ice cream, aka dixie cup size, but packaged in a folded cardboard box like pints were sold. Made me feel like I was getting a whole pint to myself, I guess. Just more fun than the dixie cups. I had these in Los Angeles near the Unversity of Southern California about 1954-55.


    Walgreens used to sell their house-brand ice cream in little square cartons. I recall them being smaller than pints but not sure how small. I imagine they were pretty inexpensive because my mom let me pick 4 or 5 flavors at a time, but at Breslers I could only pick 1.
  • Post #65 - June 18th, 2019, 11:36 am
    Post #65 - June 18th, 2019, 11:36 am Post #65 - June 18th, 2019, 11:36 am
    I've been bitter with Walgreen's about the last 10-15 years since they discontinued their store brand of New York Cherry ice cream. Yes, in those little square containers...
  • Post #66 - June 18th, 2019, 5:12 pm
    Post #66 - June 18th, 2019, 5:12 pm Post #66 - June 18th, 2019, 5:12 pm
    Growing up in the far north suburbs, I recall a couple of really good places for Chicago classics.

    Slots Hots was a hot dog stand in Libertyville on Milwaukee that served the typical Chicago classics. That's where I first learned the "everything" on a hot dog didn't include ketchup (it was a rude awakening at the time, but I was twelve, so...).

    The other was Bill's Pub in Mundelein. Their Chicago tavern-style pizza was (and still is) a great example of the genre. And enjoyed best in the cozy, dimly-lit labyrinth of tables and booths surrounded by taxidermy. It felt like a friendly, happy version of Craster's Keep. Very Northwoods. Kayo. Peanut shells on the floor.

    As I grew a little older, I became a fan of their meatball sandwich after my father's recommendation. I almost choked to death trying to wolf down a bite of that sandwich that contained half of one of the enormous meatballs it contained.

    Ahh. Memories.

    Great post idea!
    My doctor told me that if I continue to eat this way, my body will lose the ability to wear horizontal stripes.
  • Post #67 - June 18th, 2019, 6:21 pm
    Post #67 - June 18th, 2019, 6:21 pm Post #67 - June 18th, 2019, 6:21 pm
    GlakeCate wrote:1. Phil Smidt & Sons Restaurant. The restaurant was in Indiana, but so close to the border, it had a 312 number. My mom was a waitress there my entire childhood and some of my adult life. But actually going there to eat was SUPER special because it was so pricey, and of course, my mom didn't really want to be there on her days off. The frog legs were amazing. For my 10th birthday (1983), my mom delivered a full frog leg dinner (complete with the relishes) to me at school for lunch. The other kids FREAKED out that I eat frogs and I freaked out that they didn't. One of my best childhood memories ever.


    Yup! My Grandma Kay (who I mentioned upthread), the daughter of a doctor in the 20s South Shore, grew up classier than our Whities and Kayo Friday night sleepovers might suggest. Fancy weekend lunches were frog legs & perch at Phil Smidt's for several generations.

    That said, my favorite frog & perch growing up was found in Michigan City at Seafood Delights, which closed by the end of the 80s. A few years ago, the seafood shack on the river re-opened as Bridges Waterside Grille, which I also happen to quite like. No frog legs, but hand-cut skinny fries, perch, a decent bloody, and FL Keys vibes with an appropriate sound track.

    Bridges Waterside Grille
    508 E 2nd St, Michigan City, IN 46360
  • Post #68 - June 19th, 2019, 10:25 am
    Post #68 - June 19th, 2019, 10:25 am Post #68 - June 19th, 2019, 10:25 am
    Fried bologna sandwiches and Italian sausage with peppers on the home stove. Carson’s ribs, Aurelio’s pizza, and Brown’s chicken wings for carry out. Pizzeria Uno and Berghoff stand up bar for special outings “downtown.”

    Lezza Italian ice, Supreme tamales, and Market Day kievs in the freezer. Mickey’s hot dogs, Fla-Vor-Ice, DQ Peanut Buster Parfaits, and ballpark Polish with mounds of fried onions under the sun.

    My grandfather’s glove compartment had a neatly organized storage caddy of old-logo Taco Bell sauce packets. Times were good. Preservatives were a way of life and we embalmed ourselves from the inside out.
  • Post #69 - June 19th, 2019, 5:58 pm
    Post #69 - June 19th, 2019, 5:58 pm Post #69 - June 19th, 2019, 5:58 pm
    GlakeCate wrote:1. Phil Smidt & Sons Restaurant. The restaurant was in Indiana, but so close to the border, it had a 312 number.

    Phil Smidt's also had a toll-free number: 1-800-FROGLEG.

    Here are some photos I took in 2006.

    Image
    Image
    Image
    Image
    Image

    And a couple sad ones from 2013.

    Image
    Image
  • Post #70 - June 19th, 2019, 10:09 pm
    Post #70 - June 19th, 2019, 10:09 pm Post #70 - June 19th, 2019, 10:09 pm
    Sunday night corned beef on rye with mustard made from CB and unsliced Rosen rye bread purchased at Mr. Ricky’s in Skokie. Ricky was Rich Melman. I have never since had rye bread with such a “crusty” crust.

    Carry out Broasted chicken and creamy coleslaw with a bite from Henny’s on Dempster in Morton Grove.
  • Post #71 - June 20th, 2019, 12:21 am
    Post #71 - June 20th, 2019, 12:21 am Post #71 - June 20th, 2019, 12:21 am
    scottsol wrote:I have never since had rye bread with such a “crusty” crust.

    Best rye bread in Chicagoland is Kaufman's Corn Rye bread. Deep rye flavor, earthy, slight sour tang, chewy interior with crisp crust, double the caraway of regular seeded rye and highlights of cornmeal crunch. Perfect with a swipe of mustard and pastrami, sheer soul satisfying simplicity with sweet butter and sea salt, heaven nestled up to pair of over-easy eggs.

    Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen
    4905 W Dempster
    Skokie IL, 60077
    847 677 6190
    7/days: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #72 - June 20th, 2019, 7:19 am
    Post #72 - June 20th, 2019, 7:19 am Post #72 - June 20th, 2019, 7:19 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    scottsol wrote:I have never since had rye bread with such a “crusty” crust.

    Best rye bread in Chicagoland is Kaufman's Corn Rye bread.

    Right! Kaufman's! How could I forget how much that was part of childhood sunday brunches when the whole clan got together?

    But more than the bagels, more than the lox and corned beef, what I craved was the pletzel: a dense foccacia-like bread spread heavily with onions like their onion rolls (for which I also have a deep fondness). I don't remember doing anything with it other than cutting off a piece and slathering it with butter or chive cream cheese (more onions!) -- never as a sandwich.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #73 - June 20th, 2019, 7:20 am
    Post #73 - June 20th, 2019, 7:20 am Post #73 - June 20th, 2019, 7:20 am
    I remember as a kid frequenting these 3 restaurants (only 1 remains).

    Hashalom Restaurant on Devon Ave which was a Moroccan Israeli restaurant which had some unique dishes that were not found anywhere else in the city at the time. But because of gentrification in the neighborhood and the daughter not wanting to continue the parents business the restaurant closed around 2010.
    https://www.yelp.com/biz/hashalom-resta ... =date_desc

    Original Hot Dog Island in Glenview on Golf Road was a old school hot dog stand I visited many times as a kid. I believe they were forced to close many years ago.

    Wolfy’s Also an old school hot dog stand I visited frequently as a child but have not been back for maybe 20+ years so my nostalgia of the place might be better than it actually is. Wolfys is still open for business after all these years..
    https://www.yelp.com/biz/wolfys-chicago ... =date_desc
  • Post #74 - June 20th, 2019, 8:54 am
    Post #74 - June 20th, 2019, 8:54 am Post #74 - June 20th, 2019, 8:54 am
    Does anyone remember a hot dog place on Clark near Wrigley Field? My family and I lived in the area from 1966 to 1972 and I think it was called Franksville. It's the only restaurant I recall from that time in our very young lives and we loved it.
  • Post #75 - June 20th, 2019, 9:17 am
    Post #75 - June 20th, 2019, 9:17 am Post #75 - June 20th, 2019, 9:17 am
    Rene G wrote:
    GlakeCate wrote:1. Phil Smidt & Sons Restaurant. The restaurant was in Indiana, but so close to the border, it had a 312 number.

    Phil Smidt's also had a toll-free number: 1-800-FROGLEG.

    Here are some photos I took in 2006.

    Image
    Image
    Image
    Image
    Image

    And a couple sad ones from 2013.

    Image
    Image


    Wow! Thanks SO much for sharing these pictures. Amazing and really brings back fond memories. I remember running up those steps--sometimes with my dad to pick mom up from work and sometimes to be treated a great dinner. It's so sad that the restaurant closed and to see it in disarray. It was such an enormous character in my childhood. I think my dad still has my mom's black polyester uniform with pink collar. She died a few years ago ... so this is just a beautiful trip down memory lane for me. Thank you, Rene. From the bottom of my heart.
    “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” ―Erma Bombeck
  • Post #76 - June 20th, 2019, 10:22 am
    Post #76 - June 20th, 2019, 10:22 am Post #76 - June 20th, 2019, 10:22 am
    GlakeCate wrote:I think my dad still has my mom's black polyester uniform with pink collar. She died a few years ago ... so this is just a beautiful trip down memory lane for me. Thank you, Rene. From the bottom of my heart.

    If you ever wish to part company with this uniform, I suggest contacting the Hammond historical society. The Hammond Public Library has a history room who could advise where it should go.

    Regards,
    Cathy2 -- who volunteers at a local historical society
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #77 - June 20th, 2019, 1:57 pm
    Post #77 - June 20th, 2019, 1:57 pm Post #77 - June 20th, 2019, 1:57 pm
    twix wrote:Does anyone remember a hot dog place on Clark near Wrigley Field? My family and I lived in the area from 1966 to 1972 and I think it was called Franksville. It's the only restaurant I recall from that time in our very young lives and we loved it.

    Yep. I believe it was on the NW corner of Clark & Addison. It was my first and last Foot Long Hot Dog.

    They still have a location at 3550 North Harlem Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60634, United States]
    Franksville
  • Post #78 - June 20th, 2019, 2:03 pm
    Post #78 - June 20th, 2019, 2:03 pm Post #78 - June 20th, 2019, 2:03 pm
    Recent Franksville mentions on this thread:

    The definitive Chicago hot dog

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #79 - June 23rd, 2019, 10:44 am
    Post #79 - June 23rd, 2019, 10:44 am Post #79 - June 23rd, 2019, 10:44 am
    My family did not live here, but we visited family and friends on holidays. What impressed me as a kid was the Sweet Shop in Winnetka. The artichokes stuffed with crabmeat at Chez Jacques' downtown still come to mind as one of the best things I ever ate.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #80 - June 23rd, 2019, 11:08 am
    Post #80 - June 23rd, 2019, 11:08 am Post #80 - June 23rd, 2019, 11:08 am
    What I ate maybe a dozen times as a kid, and would still gladly eat right this minute, is an Olive Burger as served at The Village Lantern in Elmhurst. We used to go there after house-hunting in the early 60s, and I went there after prom during freshman year in high school. At that restaurant, though I went there maybe a dozen times, I don't remember getting anything other than an Olive Burger. It was nothing fancy: the olives were green, pimento stuffed, but chopped up, maybe even seconds sold in cans, but their salty juiciness worked so well with beef, which was pretty much undoubtedly a previously frozen patty.

    Favorite foods from childhood are rarely fancy...heck, they don't even have to be "good" in the usual sense of the word.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #81 - June 23rd, 2019, 4:52 pm
    Post #81 - June 23rd, 2019, 4:52 pm Post #81 - June 23rd, 2019, 4:52 pm
    David Hammond wrote:What I ate maybe a dozen times as a kid, and would still gladly eat right this minute, is an Olive Burger as served at The Village Lantern in Elmhurst. We used to go there after house-hunting in the early 60s, and I went there after prom during freshman year in high school. At that restaurant, though I went there maybe a dozen times, I don't remember getting anything other than an Olive Burger. It was nothing fancy: the olives were green, pimento stuffed, but chopped up, maybe even seconds sold in cans, but their salty juiciness worked so well with beef, which was pretty much undoubtedly a previously frozen patty.

    Favorite foods from childhood are rarely fancy...heck, they don't even have to be "good" in the usual sense of the word.


    That knocked loose a memory of The Country House in Clarendon Hills, where I ate (haunted) olive burgers regularly from the mid-1980s onward. That's also the first place I had or heard of a muffaletta [sic]; theirs is weirdly congealed but good, and I think they used the same garlicky olive mix on the burgers. Other spots that family branch would take us to included Q's in Hillside, Round Up Pizza also right there, and China Chef on Cass in Westmont.

    I have some Michigan friends who take pride in olive burgers as their own export but I'm sure there is a much richer story (and perhaps several independent impulses) on how and where that combination took hold. An earlier LTH thread on that topic is here.
  • Post #82 - June 23rd, 2019, 5:10 pm
    Post #82 - June 23rd, 2019, 5:10 pm Post #82 - June 23rd, 2019, 5:10 pm
    In the '70s the original Edwardo's on Howard had amazing pesto-spinach stuffed pizza. The pesto was made with basil grown in-house, and mixed with some spinach and shredded cheese before cooking to create a delicious, integrated layer. The pesto was just inside, and it was still topped with extra dough and tomato sauce, as one would expect. Once they expanded to multiple locations it was never the same. Carmen's made a similar pie, theirs had real pine nuts (Edwardo's used walnuts I think), but parsley instead of basil. So it wasn't quite as herb-forward.
  • Post #83 - June 23rd, 2019, 8:08 pm
    Post #83 - June 23rd, 2019, 8:08 pm Post #83 - June 23rd, 2019, 8:08 pm
    Hi,

    I remember the basil under growing lights. In retrospect, they needed far more than was shown.

    They now have only three locations. Heck I remember when they were in Libertyville, Northbrook, Wheeling and many other places, times have changed.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #84 - June 24th, 2019, 12:08 am
    Post #84 - June 24th, 2019, 12:08 am Post #84 - June 24th, 2019, 12:08 am
    GlakeCate wrote:Wow! Thanks SO much for sharing these pictures. Amazing and really brings back fond memories. I remember running up those steps--sometimes with my dad to pick mom up from work and sometimes to be treated a great dinner. It's so sad that the restaurant closed and to see it in disarray. It was such an enormous character in my childhood. I think my dad still has my mom's black polyester uniform with pink collar. She died a few years ago ... so this is just a beautiful trip down memory lane for me. Thank you, Rene. From the bottom of my heart.

    You're very welcome; I'm glad the photos brought back such good memories (and I'm kinda sorry now I included the 2013 pics). I just realized I missed a photo while posting, probably my favorite of the bunch. The entire restaurant always seemed suffused with a warm pink glow.

    Image
  • Post #85 - June 24th, 2019, 3:39 am
    Post #85 - June 24th, 2019, 3:39 am Post #85 - June 24th, 2019, 3:39 am
    Speaking of Phil Smidt's a number of decades ago 6 of us had a few (too many) pre dinner drinks at the bar. As we were being seating I noticed a Name The Phil Smidt's Frog contest sign featuring a cartoon frog. Having just read the vast majority of frog legs consumed in the US were imported from India I suggested Hadji, as in Hadji Singh a character from the Johnny Quest cartoon, to the manager. My suggestion was not well received.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #86 - July 15th, 2019, 11:55 am
    Post #86 - July 15th, 2019, 11:55 am Post #86 - July 15th, 2019, 11:55 am
    Prince Castle square ice cream, later Cock Robin. Tastee Freeze cones and also chocolate sodas with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Liked Peterson's and also the Buffalo. Root beer floats from the rootbeer stand in Maywood. Orange push ups. Dressels whipped cream cakes. Sara Lee chocolate brownies. Bakery from the Village Bakery at Belmont and Harlem. Chocolate donuts, custard coffee cake, bakery cookies, etc. I liked my birthday cake to be a yellow whipped cream cake with fresh strawberries, or a chocolate whipped cream cake. Did not know about Atomic cakes. Hot dogs from Bob O's hot dogs, Far NW side. Pizza from Pete's pizzeria in Franklin Park. Tacos from Jack in the Box. Maurice Lenell cookies from the plant in Norridge. Likes pinwheels and butterscotch stars. Green Olive cheeseburgers from anywhere that had them that were good. Hard to find now. I did not know about much other ethnic food, or Italian beefs or polish then.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #87 - Today, 12:02 pm
    Post #87 - Today, 12:02 pm Post #87 - Today, 12:02 pm
    Artie wrote:
    twix wrote:Does anyone remember a hot dog place on Clark near Wrigley Field? My family and I lived in the area from 1966 to 1972 and I think it was called Franksville. It's the only restaurant I recall from that time in our very young lives and we loved it.

    Yep. I believe it was on the NW corner of Clark & Addison. It was my first and last Foot Long Hot Dog.

    They still have a location at 3550 North Harlem Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60634, United States]
    Franksville

    I grew up nearby as well, and Franksville was a big treat for our family. We loved the Foot Long, one of the foundations of my life-long love of hot dogs. We also enjoyed hot dogs from a cart (Tony's?) that used to be on Broadway near Cornelia. Another memory from those early years was a Japanese restaurant, perhaps on Clark, that had little containers of dried seaweed sheets (we didn't know they were called nori) on the table to nibble before the food came.

    I can't leave this topic without mentioning the Burney Bros. cinnamon bread my mother would buy for the three of us to eat in the store while she grocery shopped. We referred to it as cramique, the name for a Belgian sweet bread--my grandmother was Belgian. I can remember sitting in the front seat of a grocery cart and eating it, probably one of my earliest food memories.

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