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Feb 17, 2002 09:20 PM

Chicago's Oldest Restaurants

  • k

I understand the Berghoff is Chicago's oldest restaurant and it has kept its old charm with its old decor. I enjoy eating at old restaurants that have'nt changed much through the years. Can someone tell me other restaurants that have been in existance for many years and you recommend to dine at, from cheap eats to fine dining!!!!! Thanks

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  1. Gene & Georgetti's

    It's a steakhouse, but my favorite dish is the "garbage salad". Search Chowhound for reviews of it.


    1. Check Bigg's at Dearborn and Elm. Late Victorian manse,was in the same family for many years but changed owner in the last 5 years or so. Higher-end place.

      The Drake Hotel comes to mind also. Cape Cod Room and Oak Terrace: same places as when I was a child (1950's), although I think the Oak Terrace, with big windows overlooking Oak Street Beach, was called the Walnut Room back then. Coq d' Or is a basically a bar, it's pretty dark, and the menu is abbreviated, but it all comes from the same kitchen. The last one in the hotel is the Club International. You have to be a member. Not really old, since I remember when it was an antique dealer's showroom. But it's a really nice room overlooking Walton and Michigan on the second floor, and the standard of service is superb. Prices are higher, and guests get the un-priced menus.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cuthbert

        The Walnut Room is in the State Street Marshall Fields and like some of the others it has been there eons. I went as a child and remember making a clean plate so that I could see the picture. Also dessert was a clown ice cream cone. I took my children there for lunch and am now going with my grandchildren. The menu hasn't changed much but the prices sure have. It is not a cheap eats.

        1. re: Cuthbert

          This post is 12 years old. Biggs went out of business years ago and was followed by Il Mulino, which also went out of business, and the house has been sitting vacant for more than a year. Its stables building is Table 52, which seems to be doing OK.

        2. file this one under cheap eats, since they serve food but it's more of an ice cream parlor: margie's candies. they haven't really changed much since it opened, what, 80 years ago?

          if you go, they have copies of an article laying around that tells the history of the place: how the beatles ate there, how it got its name, and that they still make the same high-butterfat content ice cream that they've always made. my fave dish there is the turtle sundae.

          1960 n. western
          chicago, il


          1. A long time ago, my grandpap used to take me to Binyons and Jimmy Wongs. Not sure about Jimmy Wongs, but I believe Binyons is still around.

            As a kid I liked the turtle soup at Binyons.

            And of course a very kind asian man (did not have any in my world then) as a kid was the lock for me at Jimmy Wongs.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Sweet Willie

              Was'nt Binyons on Plymouth Court just South of Jackson?
              If that is the Binyons that is talked about in Chowhound Chicago, I beleive it has been under remodeling for many years and last time I drove by Binyons there was a for sale sign in the window.

              1. re: Wladek

                binyon closed, had best turtle soup!

                1. re: Wladek

                  Its now a fabulous place called the Plymouth, it has a down bar, main floor and rooftop bar its really cool.

                2. re: Sweet Willie

                  Sweet Willie,

                  Jimmy Wong sold all his restaurants in the late 1980s. The Jimmy Wong's over on Wabash was operated under his name but by a different owner until 1997, and Jimmy died last July.

                  What a lot of people don't know about him was that he was a pivotal player in creating the "new chinatown" area over around Argyle.

                3. italian Village in the loop has been around forever. The decor is everything. Food is not terrible but that is not what you are going for.