Archive for the ‘Restaurants, taverns, etc.’ Category

WILL THE REAL HANS WEBER PLEASE STAND UP?

May 10, 2020

A couple of years after World War I, an entry in the August 26, 1921 issue of the Cook County Herald mentioned in the Schaumburg column that “the brick block has been leased by Hans Weber from Chicago. Mr. Weber will take possession Sept. 1st.”

The “brick block” was later known as Lengl’s and, still later, the Easy Street Pub. Because of its solid red rectangular brick construction, it is easy to see why it was casually referred to that way.

We know that this building was built by H. E. Quindel in 1911 for a cost of $15,000 and that he initially leased the business to Charles Krueger, who ran it as a hotel, hall and saloon, as pictured below.

Seven years later in a July 5, 1918 issue, it states that “Barney Mueller, of Elgin, has bot [sic] out Chas. Krueger and will occupy the buffet beginning next week. Mr. Krueger will move his household effects to Elgin.”

Going forward, Mr. Mueller ran the tavern for the next few years. He ultimately decided, though, that he was ready to move on so he leased it to Mr. Weber who aptly renamed it the Weber Inn.

It appears though, that there was another possible reason that Mr. Weber of Chicago came to Schaumburg Township. In the same August 26, 1921 article it is stated “Mr. Weber, who leased the brick block was a member of the famous “Jackie” band during the recent turbulent war times and is capable to direct a band himself and we all know a band is just what Schaumburg needs…”

“Jackie” was a nickname for those who served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. This 300-piece band was actually formed by the great John Phillip Sousa at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center during World War 1. (See the reference on this Facebook page.)

Knowing that Mr. Weber was a World War I veteran made it a bit easier to try and track him down. The Fold3 database that the library subscribes to has a World War I registration card for a Hans Weber who was a saloon keeper in Chicago. He was 32, married to Elizabeth Weber and lived at 1525 W 51st Street in Chicago.

This is where we make the assumption that we have the correct Hans Weber, despite the fact that there were several others by that name who also registered for the draft in the Great War. They, though, were either out of state or their first and/or middle names were slightly off.

By the 1920 census–and two years after the war ended–this Hans Weber was in Chicago at the same West 51st Street address with his wife and three children, Elizabeth, Hans and Elsie. The following year would see him lease the red brick structure in Schaumburg Township.

The Weber Inn did, indeed, sponsor musical events as mentioned in this May 25, 1923 article from the Cook County Herald. “The classy Schwabenverein, with their swell male choir were callers at the Weber Inn Sunday. Quite a number of locals enjoyed some of their selections.”

The paper had the name of the group slightly wrong. It was the Schwaben Verein which is one of the oldest German organizations of the Chicago area, having been founded in 1878. Considering the township was almost exclusively German in 1923, it is no surprise that the male choir went over so well with local residents.

To add even more mystery to the story though, the 1923 Chicago City Directory lists Mr. Weber still living at 1525 W. 51st Street. In fact, in the 1930 census he is listed as a merchant of soft drinks and, in the 1940 census, he is listed as a tavern keeper/bartender owner with the same 51st Street address.

Did he maintain a residence there during his ownership of the Weber Inn in Schaumburg Township? Did his wife live there while he worked in Schaumburg? Was it just easier that way? Do we even have the right Hans Weber?

A year later in the May 2, 1924 issue of the Cook County Herald, it states that “Mr. A.H. Weber has sold his interest in the Weber Inn to Frank Lenger [Lengl] of Chicago, who took possession Tuesday. Mr. Weber will devote his time in operating the hotel and restaurant which he recently purchased at Roselle.”

Compliments of the Roselle Local History Digital Archive, we have an idea of what this hotel and restaurant looked like. It is the fine looking two story building in the middle of this photo of Chicago Street in Roselle, which is now Irving Park Road.

Around the same time that Mr. Weber left the Weber Inn and took up his new establishment in Roselle, this ad appeared in the paper–and it really muddies the waters a bit more. Look at the name at the bottom of the ad. It appears to be Alphonse H. Weber, proprietor.

If we turn back to Fold 3, we can find a World War I draft registration card for Alphonse Henry Weber who was born March 25, 1888. His profession? Musician. Where? In his own orchestra at 2922 Southport Avenue in Chicago. This bit of information very much aligns with the Hans Weber who was a part of the Jackie band at Great Lakes Naval Station. The only problem is that the name Hans is a nickname for Johannes or, the German form of John–and bears no connection to the name Alphonse. Was it maybe a pet name that his family or friends gave him?

Whatever the case, Alphonse H. Weber is listed in the 1920 census living with his parents, Joseph and Helen, and working as a bank clerk. The 1930 census has him also living in Chicago with his father but, working as a musician in a band.

The death certificate for Mr. Weber that can be found in Family Search lists his birth date as March 25, 1890–two years off from the date on the draft registration card. His place of death was Alexian Brothers Hospital in Chicago and his home address? 2922 Southport Avenue–the same as his draft registration card. He was listed as divorced from Elsie Weber and employed as a clerk in real estate for 10 years. What happened to the musician status from the 1930 census? And how had he been employed for 10 years as a real estate clerk when he was running the Weber Hotel in 1924?

Interestingly, in the Ancestry database, the U.S. Veterans Administration has a card from their Master Index of 1917-1940 for Alphonse Henry Weber. It duplicates the 1888 birth date above and also states that he died February 7, 1934. The place where benefits were sent? Roselle, Illinois.

In this interior photo below–also from Roselle’s Local History Digital Archive–there is a couple behind the bar of the hotel. Is this Mr. and Mrs. Weber? Is it Hans and Elizabeth or Alphonse and Elsie? Or, simply, a couple that ran the inn? For a bit of clarification, a mention of Mrs. Weber providing one of her famous chicken dinners at the Roselle Hotel is mentioned in the Franklin Park Beacon of July 25, 1924. So, we know, if it’s Alphonse and Elsie, they had to have been married at the time.

For a bit of context, this photo of Hans and Elizabeth Weber that was found on Family Search was part of their 1924 passport application photo–which was also taken at the same time Hans and/or Alphonse H. Weber purchased the Roselle hotel and lunch room. They do not appear to be the same couple as the those behind the bar at the Weber Hotel.

Unfortunately, the Roselle History Museum had no additional information on a Mr. A.H. “Hans” Weber that Schaumburg Township and the village of Roselle shared. There was no further mention of the restaurant in the newspapers than the simple ads that were placed in 1924.

Don’t we have to assume, then, that our Mr. Weber was Alphonse Henry and that, possibly, he gave up his dreams and sold the hotel towards the end of 1924 and moved back to Chicago? He then took a job as a real estate clerk for the next ten years until his death in 1934, while continuing to perform as a musician on the side. It was so much a part of his dream that he listed his occupation as such in the 1930 census.

If any family members or researchers can verify the correct Mr. Weber, maybe then, the real Hans Weber can, indeed, stand up.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

Many thanks to Leslie Drewitz of the Roselle History Museum for her additional research and for giving approval to use the photos of Weber’s Hotel and Lunch Room.

Credit for the Jackie Band photo is also given to the Navy Musician’s Association Archives. 

 

THE EVOLUTION FROM EASY STREET TO PHAT PHAT

February 2, 2020

Take a look for yourself. The renovation of the Easy Street is complete and the building has reopened as Phat Phat. Wonderfully, the integrity of the building was maintained through extensive brick work, new windows and doors and a new main entrance. Let’s take a look at how the building has evolved into the unique structure it is today.

When the building first opened it was called the Schaumburg Inn. This 1913 postcard shows the structure shortly after it was built by H. E. Quindel in 1911 for a cost of $15,000. On August 1 of that year, according to an article in the July 28, 1911 issue of the Cook County Herald, Charles Krueger began leasing it as a hotel, hall and saloon. The fact that it served as a hotel explains all of the windows on every side of the building.

Notice the large windows on the first floor in the front and the multiple doors on both sides of the building. In fact, there are a total of four doors. Not only can we see the set of double doors on the diagonal, but there is another door in the shade on the far left of the front facade and two doors on the south side.

Frank Lengl purchased the restaurant April 28, 1924, maintaining the above appearance for a number of years. Later, he enclosed some of the front facade and added a vestibule for the front door, creating this look.In addition, he added his name to the front of the building, renamed it the Schaumburg Inn and painted the large sign in the upper corner that advertised the chicken and steak dinners that were served in the restaurant.

This rendition was used to create the village’s 2019 Christmas ornament.

When the recent renovation began, the building looked like this. Ken Koy and Jerry Trofholz, owners of the Easy Street, had maintained the boarded front facade that gave the establishment a more snug, tavern-like feel. They removed the vestibule and front door that jutted out onto the sidewalk and installed awnings over the tops of the windows. Somewhere along the way they also added a satellite dish on the roof to provide access to multiple sports channels.

Today, the building has largely reverted to its original appearance. Most details that are viewable from Roselle Road have been maintained, save for the two doors on the south side of the building that have been converted to windows, and the diagonal door that is now a single door rather than double doors. The door on the left side of the front facade remains intact and in shadow in this photo too. Interestingly, neither door serves as the main entrance. That is on the north side of the building.

Notice, too, that a smaller rendition of the historic Lengl sign has also been added to the building. You can get a closer look here.

The north and east views of the restaurant below, show the main entrance on the north side of the building, complete with stairs and a ramp. In addition, the Chicago common brick that was originally used has also been reworked and freshened up.

Like the front, the back of the building was changed quite a bit from the Easy Street era to today’s Phat Phat restaurant. In comparing both photos, it appears that most of the doors and windows have been moved and the red paint that covered the Chicago common brick was blasted off.

 

It is wonderful that the building still maintains its look of an early twentieth century hotel with its large number of doors and windows. Comparing a restaurant from the 1900s to anything built today, we would never see so many entrances, exits and multi-shaped windows. It is part of what makes this amazing historic building a contributing structure in the village’s Olde Schaumburg Centre District.

What a pleasure to see that it has been renovated to rival its original appearance. Mr. H.E. Quindel, who commissioned the building in 1911, would be oh so impressed. As are we!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

THE STORY OF TWO RESTAURANTS: BEEF N’ BARREL AND HEDON PLACE

July 14, 2019

The story of Beef N’ Barrel begins with Gus Lander, a young man who emigrated from Greece to Chicago in 1913. Mr. Lander entered the restaurant business in 1930 at 134 S. Wabash, around the corner from the Palmer House. He named his restaurant simply, Lander’s, and offered breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a selection of cocktails. Today, the location is now home to Miller’s Pub and can be found adjacent to the EL tracks.

In the photo above we see customers sitting at booths and tables as well as an extensive bar that are all reflected in the large mirror on the far right wall. The menu below showcases their breakfast items on the left, lunch in the middle and dinner on the right.

When his daughter, Denise, married Sam Boznos, Gus and Sam teamed up to begin  Beef N’ Barrel in Elk Grove Village. Like Denise, Sam was also the son of a first generation Greek immigrant. At the time of their marriage, the Boznos family was running Par King Skill Golf, a miniature golf course that Sam and his brothers had redesigned from the Boznos family’s original 4G Practice Fairways at Dempster and Waukegan in Morton Grove.

Gus Lander had expanded his small restaurant empire by opening Lander’s Chalet at the corner of Higgins Road and Route 83 in Elk Grove Village in late 1964/early 1965. It was a supper club that offered dinner and dancing and later, fashion shows. The restaurant had a number of different dining rooms, all with their own name: Knight Room, Camelot Room, Mural Room and Crescendo Room.

By 1967, Gus and Sam, his new son-in-law who had been brought into the business, were inspired to build a completely different restaurant with a bit of a western theme. It opened as Beef N’ Barrel and featured the Belt Buster 1/2 lb. hamburger, barbecue sandwich, and the Spiked Shrimp. The most popular feature, though, was the free-flowing peanuts that were literally free and bottomless.

They later expanded this brand to Lincolnshire and Schaumburg. According to Sam’s son, Dean, his father drew up the plans for the Schaumburg restaurant in their basement. It opened three years later in 1970.

The Schaumburg restaurant featured the same menu and the same Western theme. Additional details provided by Dean include the red and white checked tablecloths, the red baskets that held the sandwiches, the fringed miniskirts worn by the waitresses and the cowboy boots and hats worn by both the waitresses and the bartenders.

This is the building today–with that same iconic, pyramid roof on top. Clearly, it’s been added onto.

 

Around 1975 or 1976, Sam Boznos closed the Beef N’ Barrel on Algonquin Road and reopened it as Hedon Place, complete with cobble stoned walkways that wound threw ficus trees.

According to Dean, “the four sections of the pyramidal structure of the building featured a different type of setting.” The east room had semi-silk tablecloths with “sleek white votives” on the table. The central section became a dance floor where the sounds of disco filled the air in the evening. The upstairs loft became a romantic, dimly lit night club bar, lined with couches. The western section retained that theme and was called the Comstock Lode, complete with thick acrylic tables that contained chunks of fool’s gold and Gold Rush items. The southwest area was cordoned off so that somehow “art deco [met] late seventies decor.”

Hedon Place closed in 1980 when it was purchased by the owners of The Snuggery. According to Dean, the other two Beef N’ Barrel restaurants lasted a bit longer until Gus Lander passed away in 1984.

We are so fortunate that Mr. Boznos contributed the various photos and details of these restaurants. He came across the other postings on this blog devoted to the Beef N’ Barrel, contacted me and kindly passed them on.

The Lander/Boznos family were quite the entrepreneurs, unafraid to launch unique, thematic restaurants designed to entice their customers into trying something new and coming back for more. What a wonderful bonanza!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

You can read more about the Par King Skill Golf course here.

THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING THAT IS LOU MALNATI’S (PART 2)

March 31, 2019

From the early days of Schaumburg Township, the building that is now Lou Malnati’s has been key to the development of the township. In the course of its history it has had many owners and gaps in ownership. The late 1920s was one of those gaps. When E. H. Diekman closed his general store in 1925, it appears to have taken a few years for it to reopen under another name.

The next time we see a mention of the building is in a February 21, 1930 issue of the Herald that mentions the annual meeting of the Pure Milk Association was to be held at “Schnute’s Hall.” Even more interesting is an ad for the same store that appeared in the same paper and said, “Full line of groceries: Fruits, vegetables & ice cream at new “Schaumburg Store.”

We can suppose that Mr. Schnute obtained the business somewhere between 1925 and 1930. They must have celebrated New Year’s Eve because we have this small noisemaker that must have been passed out as a giveaway at the party. It says “Passing of 1929” and “Smile of 1930.”

 

Later, in the 1930 Schaumburg Township census that was completed in April, it lists Herman Schnute as the proprietor of a restaurant. Sometime between February and April, Mr. Schnute began selling prepared food. Another ad from May 9 of the same year confirms that he introduced “Real Old Hickory Bar-B-Q in that tantalizing and inviting southern style” for the bargain price of .15 a sandwich. Ice cream, candy and pop were also available at the Schaumburg Store. Clearly he used “Schaumburg Store” and “Schnute’s” interchangeably.

At some point, we know from our oral historians that the name of the establishment changed to Schnute’s Old Kentucky Tavern and this is confirmed in the ad below–even though Mr. Schnute’s name is spelled incorrectly.

When he passed away in March of 1939 his wife Jennie continued the establishment and, in fact, is listed in the 1940 census as the operator of a tavern/restaurant.

From the same oral historians mentioned above, we know that the next owner was George Nieman. We have a fairly good guess that he opened Nieman’s Hall in 1944 from an article in the November 4, 1949 issue of the Herald that states, “Mr. and Mrs. George Nieman are celebrating five years stay in our fair community. The shindig takes place from Nieman’s hall Wednesday night. An evening of music and lunch has been planned for those invited. The Niemans hailed from Chicago before they landed here five years ago.” Mr. Nieman is shown below in this photo from 1961.

By 1957 the Niemans had renamed the tavern the “Schaumburg Inn.” This is noted in the 1957 Bartlett, Roselle and Bloomingdale phone book.

Then, in 1960, two Roselle brothers-in-law, Victor Binneboese and Wayne Nebel purchased the building and had their grand opening on July 17, 1960, advertising themselves as the Schaumrose Inn. It lasted as a local, popular institution for 25 years–by far and away the longest ownership of the building until that time.

During their tenure they installed a mid-roof, brown vertical siding and shutters along with east steps. But, the biggest issue they faced was the proposed widening of the intersection from two lanes to four lanes. Discussion of the project began as early as 1973 or 1974, and very nearly happened in 1975.

For the next few years a steady drumbeat was sounded by the Village of Schaumburg and the Cook County Highway Department to get the job done. With two historical buildings on the intersection (the Schaumburg Bank building was across Schaumburg Road on the northeast corner) steps were taken to ensure that both buildings were saved.

Monetary terms were finally reached and it was eventually agreed that the Schaumrose would be moved approximately 20 feet to the south and 20 feet to the east. This was accomplished in the fall of 1978 when the delicate task of picking up the nearly century-old building and placing it over a large hole. A new foundation was then constructed as well as a new parking lot, sidewalk and front steps. (You can see the results in the photo above.)

And Mr. Nebel’s response in the November 23, 1978 Daily Herald? “Shoot, I couldn’t have torn this place down. I guess it will prove worth the trouble in the long run.” It WAS worth the trouble because, for the next seven years, the Schaumrose Inn remained a mainstay until the Malnati’s Pizza chain recognized the value of the corner and came calling.

On October 22, 1985, Lou Malnati’s opened their 5th restaurant on the corner of the intersection that has been going strong since the nineteenth century. They soon added on a glassed, closed-in porch that circles the north and west sides of the building and, in 2010, after 25 years, they did a little trade with the village. Malnati’s gave the village ownership of the Turret House and, in exchange, the village deeded the small furniture store directly to the south on Roselle Road to Lou Malnati’s. It is the light blue building in the photo below.

The pizza restaurant tore down the furniture store and replaced it with a new kitchen. They also created a new waiting space, washrooms and ramp outside. In the intervening years, parking has also expanded, giving diners much greater ease in finding a spot.

Despite the fact that it appears a title search is about the only way we can determine the year this building was built, we do know that it has definitely withstood the test of time at the busy corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Road. Both the Schaumburg Bank on the northeast corner, and the Fenz store on the southwest corner that were its longtime cohorts during the rural period of Schaumburg Township, eventually burned down. The bank’s spot is now a small park and the Fenz Store’s spot is now the village’s Veterans’ Memorial.

Whether you know the building as Lou’s, the Schaumrose Inn, Nieman’s, Schnute’s Old Kentucky Tavern or any of the other names, we can indeed speak well of the endurance of this unique building. It is perfect confirmation that location is everything at the heart of Schaumburg Township.

Jane Rozek
Local History
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

 

 

THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING THAT IS LOU MALNATI’S (PART 1)

March 24, 2019

If you look at the Yelp reviews for Lou Malnati’s in Schaumburg, one of the things you’ll notice is that many people believe the building is an old house that was, at some time, remodeled into a business. Given that the early history of this building is unknown, it’s possible that it did start its life as a house, but it’s doubtful. The location is just too good.

The intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle was the heart and soul of Schaumburg Township during the rural period. It’s where the farmers came to do business in the sparsely populated area. There was, at various times, within easy walking distance of the intersection, a general store, a hardware store, a blacksmith, a bank, a garage, a grain mill, a creamery and a hotel/tavern.

While we do not know the exact year that the building was erected, the best guess we have is from the Schaumburg Township portion of the 1875 Van Vechten and Snyder’s Real Estate Map of Cook & DuPage Counties. The map shows a building directly on the corner of the intersection. Given that other buildings around it are listed as a wagon shop, blacksmith and school, it was obviously a commercial corner. Taking a look at the same map for 1870, there is nothing on the corner. So, somewhere between 1870 and 1875, the building could have been built.

Interestingly, Wayne Nebel, the longtime owner of the building during the 1960s, 70s and 80s stated in a Daily Herald article from January 1, 1975, “As near as we’ve been able to tell, it’s about 90 years old.” This would mean it was built around 1885. Given the fact that Mr. Nebel came from the German farming contingent, he might have gotten his facts from some of the locals who knew of the building either personally or from their ancestors. So, maybe his judgement is correct.

That being stated, the next time we find any mention of the building is in a 1901 article from the Daily Herald. This article mentions that on June 25, H.C. Hattendorf or Herman C., would be turning over his hotel and saloon to Henry Quindel (pictured below.) I also discovered that Hattendorf is mentioned in the 1900 census as a “saloon keeper.” His age at the time was 26 so we know he hadn’t held the job and/or owned the building for long–and that someone definitely came before him.

Another mention in the November 3, 1905 Herald states that “H.E. Quindel quit biz at the old stand Nov. 1 and turned the keys of the hotel and saloon over to Jno. Fenz who will open a hardware and farm machinery story there next spring…in [the] charge of Herman Fenz with Herman Gieseke as tinner.”

An article from the Palatine Enterprise of January 26, 1906 says that “John Fenz & Son expect to open their new hardware store, about Feb 15. Louis Menke and his force of carpenters were transforming the old Quindel hotel and saloon into a model store. A new glass front will be put in the west side fronting the prospective Palatine, Roselle & Wheaton Electric R.R. A fine large cabinet that cost $300 with counter, numerous drawers, pigeon holes and glass front, will afford a model and convenient place to display cutlery, fine tools and fancy goods. A splendidly equipped tinshop will occupy the old ball room. The business at this new establishment will include a complete line of light and heavy hardware, stores, farm implements, etc. Herman Fenz will manage the new store, and Herman Gieseke, who has served 6 years with Reynolds & Zimmer at Palatine, will be able to give entire satisfaction, in charge of the tin shop.”

This wonderful description gives us a glimpse at the building’s interior and what it was used for at the turn of the century. If you look at the photo above from 1913, the glass front looks like it was actually part of the front door. Also, it is my understanding that the ball room was on the second floor, separated from the commercial end of things. Imagine carrying all of that tin to the second floor to work on. I suspect, too, that the framed portion on the north side of the building possibly slid aside or dropped down to allow access for merchandise to be brought into the building.

The railroad that is mentioned never materialized, though there were many discussions of it in the paper. It was obviously designed to connect the Union Pacific Railroad in Wheaton to the Union Pacific line in Roselle to the Chicago and North Western Railroad in Palatine. Other potential north/south lines were also proposed at one time or another but the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern was the only one built, even though it was much further west.

This ad appeared in 1909 and, clearly, the Fenz family had sold the store to their tinsmith, Herman Gieseke. In fact, in a 1911 article, the store is mentioned as H. J. Gieseke’s Hardware Store.

This ad from July 25, 1913 throws a bit of a wrinkle into the mix, letting us know that Mr. Gieseke relocated to a new building. Unfortunately, not only am I unsure which building it was but, a year later, in the September 18, 1914 paper, it was reported that “H.J. Gieseke’s hardware and grocery store” burned.

A few years passed with no mention of who was occupying the building on the corner. The next tidbit appears in the November 14, 1919 issue of the paper where it mentions that the “first social hop of the season will be given at Freise’s Hall, Schaumburg.” Yet another mention in the May 14, 1920 paper advertises another social hop at the same place. Both record Ed. Diekman as the manager. Curiously, Mr. Diekman’s profession in the 1920 census is listed as merchant of a cigar store.  We can only assume he was operating a cigar business in the old hardware store as we know, for sure, that the Fenz store on the southwest corner of the intersection and Lengl’s tavern were definitely occupied.

The next time we meet him is in the October 17, 1924 paper that mentions “E.H. Diekman is getting lined up to start a general store in the former hardware store.” So, we presume he was expanding his cigar business and, in fact, a later article in early 1925 says, “One of those good old time programs will be given Saturday evening Feb. 16th in the Diekman hall above the Schaumburg store…” It didn’t last long because, by November 20 of the same year, it is reported that he had discontinued his business.

We then have another gap in ownership until 1930. We’ll meet more owners next week as the history of building that is Lou Malnati’s continues…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

WOODFIELD MALL MEETS OUTER SPACE

October 21, 2018

In the year 2000, appropriately enough, outer space came to Woodfield Mall and it came in the form of a new restaurant called Mars 2112. The eatery inherited the space that was originally used for the Woodfield Ice Arena and later Woodfield Mall Cinemas.

Called “Disneyland with dining” by the owner, Pascal Phelan, Mars 2112 first opened in Times Square in Manhattan as a standalone location. Woodfield Mall was chosen as its first shopping center location and it officially opened on October 3 after an $8.5 million startup investment.

The name of the restaurant was based on the year 2112 when it was believed that commercial flights would take passengers to Mars. The interior decor reflected this Mars theme and came complete with giant videos showing customers the terrain of the red planet.

Lava pools, Martian creatures and a shuttle ride for 32 guests that operated between the entrance and the dining room were also part of the experience. The shuttle ride, which was actually a 747 flight simulator used to train pilots, rocked and swayed as if the passengers were on a trip to Mars. The “voyage” lasted 3 1/2 minutes. When you got to the dining room, even the walls were red and cratered. The whole theme was meant to feel as if you were eating on Mars.

And the food? It was upscale, but casual, and ranged from burgers to grilled salmon to ribs, pasta and steaks. In fact, Pascal Phelan, the owner hired a top chef from France to put together the menu as a fusion of American and international cuisine.

It was only in business for one short year, closing in early November 2001. During that time they worked with the community by handing out $30,000 worth of scholarships to ten students from schools in the Northwest Suburbs to, where else? United States Space Camp in Titusville, FL. An appropriate gesture for the students who entered an essay contest answering the question “What is life like on Mars in 2112?”

There was no reason given for the abrupt closure of Mars 2112 but, while it lasted, it made a dramatic impact on the Woodfield restaurant scene. Eating a hamburger and fries on Mars? Who wouldn’t want to give that a try?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

Photo credit to homebrewpinball.blogspot.com

This blog posting was written with the help of Daily Herald articles from February 12 and September 28, 2000 and June 12 and November 8, 2001. An October 2000 article from the Chicago Tribune was also used.

 

 

DENNY’S COMES TO HOFFMAN ESTATES

September 23, 2018

While driving down Roselle Road recently I couldn’t help but notice that there were a number of dumpsters outside of the Denny’s in Hoffman Plaza. The next day I stopped to find out if there was a major renovation going on or if they were tearing down this local landmark. Fortunately, it was the beginning of an update, complete with new windows and front facade, booths, tables and other interior upgrades.

Hoffman Plaza had opened in the summer of 1959 and was a welcome addition to all of the early residents of the township. Fast forward fourteen years. The shopping center added even more to the local, commercial arena with the relocation of Jewel from its original spot facing Higgins Road to where you see it today on Roselle Road. That big opening happened on April 14, 1973.

Denny’s also began their construction in Hoffman Plaza in the late spring of 1973, twenty years after Denny’s opened its first restaurant as “Danny’s Donuts” in Lakewood, California in 1953. An ad appeared in the classifieds of the Chicago Tribune on May 28, 1973 asking for cooks, waitresses, bus help and dishwashers. Full and part time positions were available on the “day, swing and graveyard shifts.” (We all know that the graveyard shift is one of the perks of Denny’s because it indirectly states that the restaurant is open 24 hours a day.)

A few months later, in the summer of 1973, Denny’s opened its doors in Hoffman Plaza, attracting more diners and shoppers to the shopping center. They joined Wille’s, Snyders Drug, Case ‘n Bottle, Acorn Tire, the Post Office and many others.

Today, you can see the results of the refreshed facade. And you can still find the Grand Slam breakfast on the menu.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

P.S. The next time you’re there, take note of the stone hawk and owl on the top of the building. This is a common practice to keep pigeons away from buildings.

 

SCHAUMBURG RESTAURANTS PICTURED ON MATCHBOOKS

June 10, 2018

A while back local realtor Bob Dohn passed on a bag of matchbooks that he had collected from various restaurants of Schaumburg.  Matchbooks were a popular advertising gratuity for many businesses and can give us a peak at what the business may have looked like, the color and style scheme of the restaurant and the food they might have been known for.

I’ve featured other local businesses on matchbooks before.  You can read those blog postings here and here.  These restaurants are gone but some of them may trigger some good memories.  Please feel free to share those memories in the comments below.

 

Jonix opened in 1979 and was the first restaurant to be located on the southwest corner of Golf and Plum Grove Road.  They specialized in all of the things noted on the matchbook and, in 1983, segued into the popular Copperfields.  At the time, these types of bars/restaurants were commonly called “fern bars” because of the wealth of ferns and other greenery that were placed throughout the business as well as the wood, brass and fake Tiffany lamps that were also part of the decor.  The outline of the building as seen on the matchbook is still evident in the building today.

Carlos Murphy’s was another hot spot and another “fern bar” on Golf Road.  It opened around 1984 and originally featured a Mexican and Irish menu as can be seen on the top matchbook.  After a number of changes they began offering everything from Mexican to Italian to Asian with American dishes like ribs, chicken and gooey desserts sprinkled in between.  It eventually became a grill and tortilleria which is a tortilla bakery. They closed around 2001 and you can now find Bahama Breeze in the location.

And then there was Studebakers.  It was THE dancing nightspot where you could see and be seen.  The 50’s/60’s bar and restaurant was located in the Woodfield Commons shopping center at the southwest corner of Golf and Meacham Roads.  It opened in September 1983 as a concept restaurant by the Alabama-based Studebaker’s Inc restaurant chain and Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.  They were in business until 1997 or 1998.

Walter Payton took on another new venture when he opened Thirty-fours in 1988.

It was located near the Hyatt on Golf Road and was also both a restaurant and a nightclub.  According to the 1990-91 phone book, they had a dinner buffet, ladies night and were available for corporate luncheons.  Interestingly enough, the required entry age was 23 and there was a dress code.  The club stayed in business until 1995.

Another long time popular spot along Golf Road, close to Route 53, was the Rusty Scupper.  Amazingly enough, it opened back in 1978!  It also began life as a fern bar–only with a nautical theme–and had a menu that was largely surf and turf.  Their tenure ran out in December of 1989.

Monday’s Restaurant continues the chain of restaurants on Golf Road that we have uncovered.  Located on the site of today’s TGI Friday’s near Woodfield, Monday’s appears to have opened in 1978 and been somewhat of a fern bar too.  To set themselves apart, their decor included “oriental panels, leaded glass, Egyptian tapestry, East Indian statues, round hearths and an original open air fireplace.” (Daily Herald; July 27, 1979) They were known for their famous buffet brunch on Sundays as well as their salad bar and desserts.  Business appears to have ceased around 1982 when their newspaper classified ads ceased.

The Marriott Hotel on Martingale Road featured these two venues, beginning in the late 1980’s.  Gaddis was their AAA Four Diamond restaurant and they featured fine dining with continental dome service followed by dancing in the Bobby London Lounge.  They advertised themselves in the Daily Herald as “one of the Northwest suburb’s most romantic restaurants, where the emphasis is on fine food prepared tableside…”  (Daily Herald; April 21, 1995)  They appeared to have stayed in business into, possibly, the early 2000’s.

If anyone has more details on these restaurants that I can add or change, please don’t hesitate to comment below or send me an email.  I’d like to get the history correct!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

WHAT THE EASY STREET REVEALED

December 3, 2017

It’s always interesting that we drive past a building for years and never take as much notice as we should.  For instance, this was the Easy Street before the recent renovations began.

Then, one day after work began on the building, I took a good, long look at this view.

Wow.  The brick is completely different on the north face of the building.  It’s a yellowish, tan brick while the west and south facades are an actual red brick.  And, what about the east facade?  Well, it looked like this before the renovation.

On closer examination, it was obvious this side had been painted at some point in time.  But, what color was beneath that brick red paint?  As this facade was prepared for tuckpointing, it was determined that the brick was in severe disrepair–to the point that it crumbled very easily.  Also discovered was that the brick was not uniform but was an amalgamation of the two different types of brick that made up the building.  This brick discrepancy, and the 1976 fire that damaged the building, must have been reason enough for the previous owners to paint over the bricks.

Today, after much brick and mortar repair and replacement, the east and north facades look like this.  (The north facade is the one with the orange tube running alongside the building.)

But, the bigger question is why was this building originally constructed with two different types and color of bricks?  Having never really noticed buildings with varying brick types, I looked around and noticed that there was another building in Schaumburg that had the same dual brick scheme.  And it wasn’t far away.

This house is commonly known as the Quindel house and is adjacent to Lou Malnati’s on East Schaumburg Road.  You can see the red brick to the left that is on the front/north facade and the yellowish brick that covers the rest of the building.  

Besides the bricks, the thing that links these two buildings, is the name Quindel.  H.E. Quindel built both his home on Schaumburg Road that is now an office building, and the tavern/hotel that we know today as the Easy Street.

Mr. Quindel was quite the mover and shaker in Schaumburg Township in the early 1900s and always had a number of schemes in the works. The home was constructed around 1909 and was built for his wife Caroline and their four sons,  Frank, Emil, Arthur, and Alfred. The Easy Street was built in 1911 and was operated by Charles Krueger.

It was my presumption that Mr. Quindel used two different types of brick because of the cost of the brick. The red brick was probably more expensive than the yellow brick.  Hence, the front of his house had red brick to greet and impress any guests, and to show its best side to Schaumburg Road.  The same would be said for the Easy Street.  Red brick was used on the south side where the main doors were located and on the front/west side that faced Schaumburg Road.  (This actually speaks to where the inn’s traffic was coming from.  Obviously, people were coming up Roselle Road from the south, which meant they were coming from the village of Roselle or, possibly, from Irving Park Road.)

I still wanted to confirm that price was probably the reason for the two different color of bricks so I put the question out on a listserv. Fortunately, Neil Gale with the Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal, confirmed my supposition. The yellow brick is called Chicago Common Brick and was a less expensive brick that was used on the sides and backs of apartment buildings and larger buildings in Chicago where price was an issue.  Note this photo from his blog posting on that topic.  It looks familiar, doesn’t it? It also verifies my suspicions.

When renovations and reconstructions happen, not only do we get the wonderful finished result, but we also get to see what is uncovered along the way. The Easy Street truly is its own little archaeological dig.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

Thank you to Neil Gale for helping me to confirm the rationale behind the two styles of brick!

 

RENOVATING THE EASY STREET PUB

September 3, 2017

If you’ve been driving down Roselle Road near the Schaumburg Road intersection, you have probably noticed there’s something going on with the former Easy Street Pub at 17 Roselle Road.

Schaumburg village addressed these changes in their e-newsletter:

“Easy Street Pub was recently purchased and is undergoing some restoration and maintenance…The new owners are working to protect the building with tuckpointing, waterproofing and other improvements. The village is working with ownership to attract a new restaurant to the site that will be a destination for years to come.”

These photos were taken on August 2, 2017 shortly after work began at the end of July.

You’ll notice the windows have been completely removed but the doors are still intact as well as the gray siding.  It also appears they are doing extensive brick work on the south side of the building.

Three weeks later on August 20, the building looked like this…

The scaffolding has been removed on the south side where the brick work was being done at the top of the building.  In comparing photos, we can tell that the restructured brick was restored to its original look.

It’s interesting, too, that the two tall doors on the south side that had been boarded up for years have been removed.  It is also possible to see clear through the structure.  We can see that the building has been taken down to its studs.

Nine days later, on August 29, the building now looked like this…

It’s starting to come together, isn’t it?  The brick definitely looks refreshed, although the gray siding and gray painted front door still remain.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at the earliest rendition of the building.  This 1913 postcard shows the structure shortly after it was built by H. E. Quindel in 1911 and after Charles Krueger began leasing it as a tavern/hotel.

Notice the large windows in the front and the multiple doors on both visible sides of the building.  Not only can we see the two doors on the diagonal but there are also two doors on the south side as well as two doors in the middle of the front facade.

Below is a photo of the building from the 1920s when it was called the Schaumburg Inn.  It still has the same look although it is interesting to note the steps that have been added to the front.  Clearly the road was graded and paved sometime between the two photos.  At this time Frank Lengl was the owner and was at the beginning of his 50 some-odd-year-tenure.  However, he had yet to paint the sign on the side of the building that advertised his chicken and steak dinners.

It will be interesting to watch as the final renovations emerge–both inside and out.  This historic building is a Contributing Structure in the village’s Olde Schaumburg Centre Historic District.  It’s wonderful to see that it remains an integral part of the heart of Schaumburg Township.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org