Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The History of the Famous Elliott's Pine Log Restaurant and Lounge in Skokie, Illinois.

Elliott's Pine Log Restaurant and Lounge (1939-1988) was located at 7545 Skokie Boulevard (Skokie Blvd. is Cicero Ave. in Chicago) at the intersection of Howard Street, Lincoln Avenue and Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, Illinois.
Chris Elliott purchased the property in 1938 for $38,000. The logs were shipped from Wisconsin. The restaurant was completed and opened in 1939 at the end of the great depression.
Chris Elliott
The pine log building is nestled in three wooded acres, that are beautiful in any season. No matter where you were seated in any of the four intimate dining rooms, you'd have a relaxing view of the picturesque outdoors through huge picture windows.

It was hard to believe you were in Skokie as it felt more like you were in a Wisconsin country inn or a Swiss Alps Chalet. 
Natural wood paneling, different in each dining room, heavy beamed ceilings and wood burning fireplaces added to the rustic look of Elliott's. Inside the large waiting room with its natural wood burning fireplace, were comfortable sofas and overstuffed chairs, where you would wait for your table to be readied. Adjacent to it was the "Keyhole Bar" with a sunken cocktail lounge with a raised wood burning hearth. On Friday and Saturday nights there was a piano player who would play your requests.
Chris built apartments above the restaurant for his parents to live in. Sometimes the kitchen help would use the apartments to rest and then go back on shift.

Elliott's specialties included; Roasted Duck, Broiled Aged Steaks, Fresh Dressed Chicken among other great dishes. They hosted many Banquets, Showers, Wedding Parties, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs and lots of company parties and meetings.
Elliott's survived the November 9, 1955 fire that gutted the inside and injured two firefighters Fred Albrecht and Warren Redik, suffered superficial burns about the hands and face when they fell through the first floor. Skokie Fire Chief estimated the damage at $100,000, said the fire, of undetermined cause, started in the basement. As it turns out, the total loss was $250,000. Chris Elliott told the Skokie News, " I don't know who released the earlier estimates of damages, 'around $100,000,' but I know that whoever it was never had the pleasure of eating in my restaurant." Fireman Jerome Burke and Robert Kutz receive awards for saving two fireman at the Elliot’s Pine Log Restaurant fire in 1956.
Mr. Anthony 'Tony' Gargano, the restaurant's manager was a patient of my father's, an Optometrist, and took the time to sit with us for a few minutes every time we ate there. To this day, Elliott's had the best roasted duck I ever ate! 

As the neighborhood changed in the 1980s, business dropped off and the Pine Log was closed. There was a public auction held of all the restaurant's equipment, fixtures, antiques, collectables, seating, etc., in Chicago on June 25, 1988.
Classified Ad, Chicago Tribune, June 19, 1988
Construction of two mid-rise condominium buildings on the Pine Log's property began in August of 1988. The Park Lincoln, as it was named, has 70 units.


NOTE: The myth of Elliott's Pine Log being a speakeasy, as stated numerous places online in false. Prohibition began in 1920 and ended on December 5, 1933. Elliott's Pine Log Restaurant and Lounge opened 6 years later. Rumor has it that the speakeasy was the "Morton House Restaurant" in Morton Grove, Illinois which was destroyed by fire on January 2, 1954.