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

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 says a lot for where their 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–and it 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

 

CAN YOU HELP WITH THIS RESTAURANT?

June 4, 2017

One of the readers of the blog posed a question this week asking about a restaurant his family frequented while he was growing up in Schaumburg Township.  This would have been in the 1980s or 1990s and, according to the reader, the restaurant was in the same location as the former La Magdalena which was at 216 W. Golf Road.  This is location of the current Ziegler Maserati dealership at the corner of Golf Road and Valley Lake Drive.

According to the reader, the restaurant served great burgers and steaks and, as a unique feature, showed silent, black and white movies in a back room.

The following restaurants were at this location beginning in the 1980s:

Ponderosa Steakhouse

Real Seafood Company (Opened in 1983)

Ristorante Chianti

Edwardo’s Pizza

La Magdalena

None of these rang a bell with the reader–or fit the bill as far as the menu was concerned.

I also suggested Ground Round as a possibility because their restaurants typically used the black and white movies as a gimmick.  The first Ground Round in Schaumburg was located on the west side of Roselle Road, between Higgins and Golf.  [Thank you to the commenters below for this tidbit.]  The second Ground Round was at 800 E. Golf Road on the northeast corner of Plum Grove and Golf and it closed sometime in late 1989 or early 1990.  The reader did not think these were the restaurant or the location.

Does this ring a bell with any of you readers?  What are we missing? If you have a suggestion, please make a comment or send me a quick email.  Both the reader and I would appreciate it. Thank you!

*******************************************************

After reading the many comments below–and some that were sent to my email that duplicate the comments–the reader who posed the question thinks it probably has to be the Ground Round.  He definitely remembers the food and the movies and Ground Round is closest to that description.

Many thanks to those of you who contributed.  It is always nice to be able to appeal to the greater blog brain!

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

Photo of La Magdalena used courtesy of http://travelingtproll.blogspot.com

 

MCDONALD’S, HOLLYWOOD AND SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

January 29, 2017

mcdonalds

In the new biopic The Founder, there is a mention of Ray Kroc opening his first McDonald’s restaurants in the Chicago area.  One of the restaurants is the first one at 400 Lee Street in Des Plaines. This original location opened in April 1955 and the building has since been torn down and rebuilt.  But the movie also mentions other locations in Waukegan–and Schaumburg!

Curious about this connection, a patron emailed me about the beginnings of McDonald’s in Schaumburg Township, wondering if we were, in fact, one of the first locations in the Chicagoland area.

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that there were others in the area that opened earlier–Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village and Wheeling–to name a few.  The first one in Schaumburg Township was the location on Golf Road, just east of the intersection with Higgins.  This restaurant held its grand opening on Saturday, October 17, 1970 (15 years after the Des Plaines location) when they opened to the public at 10 a.m.

Ronald McDonald was there in person to greet kids from 10 to noon and handed out free gifts.  Their ad from the October 16, 1970 Daily Herald mentions their “piping-hot 100% pure-beef hamburgers, golden brown french fries… and triple-thick chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes.”  A photo from the October 22 paper says that the grand opening drew over 4000 people!

Facing Golf Road, the facade and interior of the building were in the latest style of the day which had been developed in 1968 by the corporate office.  Having moved from the outdoor restaurant trend with the golden arches, the Schaumburg location featured a brick building with big windows and a mansard roof.  As noted in the comments below, there was also an interior playground that was used as a space for countless birthday parties.  The McDonald’s sign on Golf Road maintained the golden arches–just as they do today.

As one of the commenters noted, the original building was torn down about around 2002 and the replacement building was not only smaller but was resituated on the lot to accomodate for the heavy drive thru traffic.  The location had a great 46-year run but, unfortunately, closed in 2016 after a new store opened in the Golf Rose Center in Hoffman Estates.

mcdonalds-2

 

Many other locations exist in Schaumburg Township:

  • Barrington Square Mall on Higgins in Hoffman Estates
  • 2580 W. Golf Road near the intersection with Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates
  • 1070 Roselle Road in the Golf Rose Center in Hoffman Estates
  • 550 S. Roselle Road in the Farmgate Shopping Center in Schaumburg
  • 2545 Schaumburg Road in the Scharrington Square Shopping Center in Schaumburg
  • 720 E. Higgins Road at Plum Grove Road in Schaumburg
  • Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg
  • 775 E. Algonquin Road in Schaumburg between Harper College and Motorola (The oldest free-standing store in Schaumburg, it was 40 years old in 2018.)
  • 955 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg (This is another brand new store as of 2016.)
  • 633 Meacham Road at Biesterfield in Strawberry Hill Plaza in Elk Grove Village
  • 7455 Barrington Road at Irving Park in Hanover Park

mcdonalds-uniformSo many of us worked for McDonald’s in the 1970’s wearing those polyester uniforms with the perky hats, frying hamburgers for a Big Mac, frying eggs in a six-sectioned egg ring for Egg McMuffins and actually mixing and whipping the shakes in a triple-head milkshake maker.  And let’s not forget making change in our heads at the cash register!  What are your memories of the McDonald’s in Schaumburg Township?  Did you work there?  Do you know when they opened?  What were your uniforms like?  Please feel free to share your thoughts!

Also, enjoy this story by Dann Gire of the Daily Herald as he discusses the appearance of the Schaumburg and other Chicagoland McDonald’s in The Founder. 

 

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

The article, “The Browning of McDonald’s,” was gratefully used in the description of the first McDonald’s in Schaumburg.