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Apr 13, 2002 10:44 PM

Remember eating at Woolworth's or Kreske's downtown?

  • k

Remember when you use to take a trip downtown with a parent and you thought it was neat to eat at Woolworth's on State St. or Kreske's cafe. They all had small eating areas in the store that basically had burgers, hot dogs and B.L.T.'s. When I was a kid I thought it was great eating there! I remember one Woolworth that the restaurant was upstairs and you looked down at the shoppers. It was a treat to a lot of kids back in the 60's.

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  1. Good Lord, YES! Back in the late Seventies and even early Eighties, I used to go for my lunch hour to the Woolworth's on State Street just south of Adams once a week or so. This was whenever they had my favorite macaroni and cheese...this was a glorious, gooey, cheese-heavy, brown-at-the-edges concoction they served for not much money and as much time as I needed to sit quietly, read, and detox from working downtown.

    In addition to the attraction(s) of the cafeteria, they sold all manner of notions and tchotchkes; the pet department in the basement would have given the PETA people fits, but I'd bet a whole lot of downtown workers' kids got their first goldfish/parakeets/hamsters from that source. The supplies for those pets were dirt cheap, too.

    Man, I miss that place!

    8 Replies
    1. re: Lady T

      i liked wimpy's too. blieve it or not, even small towns
      had walgreen's and kresge's counter's. Hojo's too, with the toasted hot dog bun and A&W and henry's and
      burger king and ...

      1. re: El Panzone

        Whatever happened to Wimpy's downtown? Do you remember any of there former locations? I even remember a Wimpy's at Woodfield Mall when it openened.

        1. re: KAD

          Hey kad,

          you asked this before-see attached link


          1. re: zim

            I am bringing the attention to El Pazzone. So I wrote it again!!!!

            1. re: KAD

              Hey kad,

              I'm not trying to start a flame war, just trying to be helpful.

              Maybe you could just attach a link to the earlier discussion as i did?

              to do so, just copy the url into the box at the bottom of the posting form and give it a title (like "more discussion of wimpys")

              1. re: zim

                Good reply Zim, I will use your advice in future messages, it was a misunderstanding. Thanks, KAD

            2. re: zim

              Your telling me about and setting an example that I have talked about Wimpy's before. How about the same Chowhounds talking about Gene and Judes, Johnnies Beef (Which is way overated by the way), Leonas, time and time again, and many more restaurants people tend to talk about over and over again.

              1. re: KAD


                I do think it is ok to repeat a little bit, to see if a restaurant is staying up to snuff, has a new menu, etc. Also, if for example a thread comes up like "your favorite restaurants", of course you may add ones you've spoken about

                However, how much change is a defunct restaurant gonna undergo? It's would be different if what you were talking about wimpy's was it's best hamburger or that they made fries a certain way.

                Also, since you had seemed to have forgotten your post -I was reminding you of others answers in the past.

      2. Woolworth's continued their restaurants or lunch counters as they were known into the 90's. The city cited them a few times and did shut them down for a time during this time. When Woolworths closed so when the lunch counter.

        All Woolworth's had lunch counters and I remember taking VI to the one on Devon and Western when he was a baby. Not a very good beginning for the foody he became but it was cheap and a allowed buggys. It was the place for a hot dog cooked on that spiked rotating thing or a grilled cheese sandwich. Food wasn't bad just cheap quick and friendly as were lunch counters all over.

        1. Being a suburban kid (Downers Grove), I used to look forward to spending some summer nights at my Great Aunt Martha's house (on School St near Belmont and Central).

          The highlight of my visits would be the trip downtown, taking the bus to Logan Square, and then the "L"/subway into the Loop to do some shopping along State Street and have lunch at Woolworth's. A grilled cheese with the crust cut off, some french fries and a chocolate milk and I was in heaven. Come to think of it, that's still an awfully darn good lunch!

          If I was really good, Aunt Martha would take me for a ride on on of the other "L" lines before we headed back to her house.

          1. And How - In Royal Oak, A Detroit burb, in the 60s and 70s. We had a Kresge in town and ALWAYS ate at the lunch counter - I remember cokes in that aluminum or steel contraption that held a paper cone - and paper straws! Kresge had the best burger and fries in the area - McDonald's was just a gleam in Ray Kroc's eye.

            Neisner's was across the street and they served cokes in those tall soda fountain glasses, but it was dark and gloomy (read suspect) and Kresge's had "modren-ized". There was no Woolworth in walking distance and no public trans, but occasionally we went to one at the Mall. The thing I remember most about Woolworth was the hot dog buns - they were sliced from the top down rather than across the middle, and they seemed more like eating a hot dog at home wrapped in a slice of Wonder bread because there were no buns left.

            1. I remember going downtown on state street with my grandma as a kid I wanted a hamburger they would not serve us because I sat at the counter for whites only Woolworth was very racist in those days I will never forget the look on my grand parents face when they told me I could. Not set there I didn't understand then but now it is all clear thank god that finally some of us can live ,work ,go t school and even worship together and god bless us all you know it still hurts I now have friends of all races and they make it all better times have surly changed to see people of all race ,creed ,and color love and respect each other thank god!