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Restaurants & Bars

The Good Old Days

N Tocus | Oct 5, 200306:44 PM

Last summer at the Newberry Library sale I found a 1947 guidebook to Chicago's restaurants and hotels. It's interesting how few of the restaurants survive, mostly hotel dining rooms like The Pump Room of The Ambassador East and The Cape Cod Room of The Drake (dinner $2.50 up). The Berghoff was here (dinner 70 cents-$2.00) and The Golden Ox, which died only recently (lunch 60-90 cents). But most of the big names like L'Aiglon at 22 E Ontario, The Pit at 875 N Rush, Don the Beachcomber at 101 E Walton, Henrici's at 71 W Randolph, and Jacques French Restaurant at 900 N Michigan (prix fixe dinner $3)---are long gone. Top-of-the-line dinners in town seem to have cost around $4 although one soared to $6 (Cafe de Paris, 1260 N Dearborn) while afternoon tea at Marshall Fields could be had for 55 cents. A Bit of Sweden, located just where Carmine's is now on Rush, offered a lavish smorgasbord for $2.90. The city also had many, many tearooms and cafeterias, no longer the case, and nineteen "nice" restaurants are listed on the South Side, which has seen many changes. As for overnight stays, a double room at The Drake cost from $3.50 to $6.50 while The Stevens (now The Chicago Hilton) charged from $6-$10 and many other downtown hotels had doubles for as little as $3.

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