• Dining in Chicago in 1931

    Tracking down old Chicago restaurants from the 1931 book "Dining in Chicago: An Intimate Guide." Updated Tuesdays and Thursdays. GOING ON A (HOPEFULLY) BRIEF HIATUS STARTING JUNE 14


3708 Indiana Avenue A white-tiled counter, a table lunch room, and quite a few Southern dishes, prepared by an expert chef.  Here are Southern fried chicken with rice, black-eyed peas with salt pork, turnip greens and ham, fried corn and bacon, sausage and fried apples, red beans and rice.  Southern hash and hominy grits, barbecue … Continue reading

Duck Inn

4845 South Parkway* Mrs. Elier Richardson, a large, amiable colored woman and an expert cook, is proprietor of this dining room on the first floor of an old mansion.  Her fried chicken à la Richardson is delicious and done to a turn; so are the roast duck, the frogs’ legs, scallops, hot biscuits, waffles, butterscotch pie … Continue reading

Grand Terrace Café

3955 South Parkway* From page 252 in the chapter The Great Black Way: Swankiest of the Blackbelt night clubs, and one of the oldest.  It is richly furnished and there is plenty of room for black, white, and intermediate shades.  The floor show is elaborate and contains some of the most attractive colored chorines** west … Continue reading

Ritz Club

343 East Garfield Boulevard Bill Bottoms’ popular black-and-tan,* where the atmosphere is torrid during the wee small hours.  Plenty of action from the colored saxophone player and the drummer, and the entertainment goes on at a merry clip.  Floor shows, dancing between, exotic atmosphere, food, and the beaming personality of Bill himself.  Chicken and chops … Continue reading

The Sunset

315 East 35th Street From page 254 of Dining in Chicago: An Intimate Guide: “Last survivor of a day (or night) when black-and-tans* were plentiful along 35th Street, which was then called the Rialto of the Blackbelt.  The Sunset is still popular among after-theatre crowds and the amusement and atmosphere are on a par with … Continue reading

King Tut’s Tomb

4711 South Michigan Avenue Another dine-and-dance place, situated under the ground.  Said to be the hottest spot in town.  Al Bentley’s King Tut Syncopating Mummies, featuring Lee Collins, the jazz cornetist from New Orleans, provide music that would make a mummy come to life.  Atmospheric and lots of fun.  Kenwood 0800. Click on photos to … Continue reading

Club El Rado

235 East Garfield Boulevard A block west of the Golden Lily.  Made famous by Nora Holt, the internationally-known “blues” singer.  The Monkey Club, started by Gentile Jimmy, a Blackbelt character, is the big event on Sunday night.  The orchestra warms up during the late hours, and so do the entertainers, chorus girls, and buck-and-wing dancers.  … Continue reading

The Golden Lily

309 East Garfield Boulevard The management is Chinese but the clientele is practically all colored.  You can have more fun here than in many other places, especially on a Saturday night.  The colored orchestra is really keen, the surroundings are colorful, and the colored folks know how to enjoy themselves.  You won’t feel out of … Continue reading

The Phalanstery

915 Rush Street Both the soul and the body is fed at the Phalanstery, a small restaurant featuring sea foods and lectures on life and letters.  It is conducted by Jack Ryan, a well-known Tower Towner, and his wife, and offers sandwiches, coffee, and a variety of sea foods on its menu.  The Phalanstery was … Continue reading

Poro Tea Room

4415 South Parkway* Where the wealthier class of colored people dine and lunch.  Very elegant and refined and located on the first floor of the Poro Beauty College, founded many years ago by Annie M. Malone, said to be one of the richest colored women in the country.  This college occupies the imposing gray stone … Continue reading