Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Burger Chef Restaurant History. Many stores in Illinois.

Frank P. Thomas Sr. founded the General Equipment Company in Indianapolis in 1930 to manufacture his new invention, which he named the Nu-Way frozen custard machine. In 1951, Thomas Sr. retired at 75 years old and gave his company stock to his two sons, Frank P. Thomas Jr. and Donald J. Thomas, and his son-in-law Robert Wildman.
A photograph of the EZE-Way frozen custard machine at a trade show around 1950. Frank P. Thomas Sr. eliminated the principle of using chipped ice and salt for freezing frozen custard in his Nu-Way machines when he installed compressors and changed the name to EZE-Way because the machines were easier to use.
With the introduction of the Sani-Shake machine and the Sani-Broiler around 1956, General Equipment Company was manufacturing most ot the basic machines necessary for operating a drive-in resturant.
With the introduction of the Sani-Shake machine and the Sani-Broiler around 1956, General Equipment Company was manufacturing most ot the basic machines necessary for operating a drive-in resturant.
The very first Burger Chef restaurant opened in May of 1957 and was located in the Little America Amusement Park in Indianapolis. Frank P. Thomas Jr. built this demonstration store to showcase his restaurant equipment in actual operation, and there were no plans to franchise the concept at this point.

In late 1957, Frank P. Thomas Jr., Donald J. Thomas, and Robert Wildman made plans were made to creat a new division of the General Equipment Company called Burger Chef.
Artist's rendition of a Burger Chef location like this one were often included in franchise materials sent out to attract potential restaurant owners.
The chain expanded throughout the United States, and at its peak, in 1973 with 1,050 locations, was second only to McDonald's in the number of locations nationwide. The chain featured several signature items such as the Big Shef and Super Shef hamburgers. Their first hamburgers sold for 15¢.
In the late 1950s, they created the first "value combo" as a 15¢ hamburger, 15¢ fries, and 15¢ vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry milkshake. It was known as the "Triple Treat." Free Triple Treat coupons were often given as promotional items.
The Pied Piper was an experimental food truck.
Pied Piper was an experimental atttempt by Burger chef in 1962 to expand its fast-food concept into other areas. Restaurant machines by the General Equipment Company were installed in Volkswagen vans like this one. Food was then prepared in the vans and sold door-to-door to local businesses.
General Foods purchased the chain in 1968 and added menu items such as the Top Shef (bacon/cheeseburger) and a chicken club sandwich (with bacon). The Works Bar allowed customers to purchase a plain burger and pile it high with the toppings of their choice. 
The chain had two mascots: Burger Chef (voiced by Paul Winchell) and Jeff (the chef's juvenile sidekick).

In 1971, Burger Chef was poised to surpass McDonald’s as the largest hamburger chain in the U.S., with 1200 locations nationwide. Not too bad for a restaurant that was created as an afterthought to showcase the General Restaurant Equipment Company’s new flame broiler. In addition to their Big Shef (double burger) and Super Shef (quarter pound burger), the company introduced a Fun Meal, which included a burger, fries, drink, dessert, and a toy for the kids. 

Burger Chef sued McDonald’s in 1979 when that company introduced their Happy Meal but ultimately lost.
                                   1973                                                                    1978

1966 Downtown Burger Chef in St. Louis, Missouri.
But in 1982 General Foods decided to get out of the burger business and sold the chain to Imasco Ltd., the parent company of Hardee’s for $44 million. Hardee's let franchises and locations near existing Hardee's locations convert to other brands. Remaining restaurants that did not convert to Hardee's or new names and branding were simply closed.
College students enjoying lunch at a Burger Chef restaurant.
Hardee's brought back the Big Shef hamburger for a limited time in 2001, 2007, and 2014 at some Midwestern locations.

Advertising Slogans
1970–1971 – "There's more to like at Burger Chef."
                         "Burger Chef goes all out to please your family."
1971–1976 – "You get more to like at Burger Chef."
1976–1980 – "We really give you the works."
                         "Open wide America, you never can forget. You get more to like at Burger                                    Chef.
1980–1996 – "Nowhere else but Burger Chef."

The Complete Collection of Burger Chef TV Commercials

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

The History of the Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago's Loop since 1898.

Herman Berghoff immigrated to America from Dortmund, Germany, in 1870. Herman and his three brothers, Henry, Hubert and Gustav, started brewing Berghoff's Beer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1887. 
The Berghoff Family as they began brewing Berghoff Beer.
When the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition opened in 1893, Berghoff set up a stand on the Midway Plaisance and sold his beer to people entering and exiting the fair. His success at the fair prompted him to consider a more permanent place to sell his beer in Chicago. Thus, The Berghoff opened doors in 1898. His Dortmunder-style beers was sold for a nickel and they came with a side sandwich, free! 

The Berghoff Restaurant, at 17 West Adams Street, near the center of Chicago's Loop, was opened in 1898 and has since become a famous institution.

When Prohibition hit, Herman saw it as an opportunity to expand his business as opposed to shutting down. He began brewing “near beer” (which is now sold as Berghoff's Root Beer) and Berghoff pop (soda pop for you non-Chicagoans) while also expanding the food service.
A historic photo of The Berghoff Restaurant on West Adams Street in downtown Chicago.
During the 14 years that Prohibition was in effect, The Berghoff Restaurant became well known for authentic German fare. After prohibition was repealed in 1933, The Berghoff was issued Chicago's #1 Liquor License.
A photo of Herman Berghoff holding Chicago's first-ever liquor license after Prohibition.
Long after most restaurants ended the practice, the Berghoff maintained a separate men's only bar.
Celebrating the repeal of Prohibition at the Berghoff Restaurant's Men-Only Tavern.
It wasn’t until Gloria Steinem and six other members of the National Organization for Women stood at the bar and demanded to be served in 1969 that the segregation ended.

For much of its history, the Berghoff waiters would purchase the meals they were serving from the kitchen and then deliver them to the customer, keeping the amount the customer paid for the meals.
A sample of one of The Berghoff Restaurant's old menus.
On December 28, 2005, it was announced by Herman Berghoff, 70, and his wife Jan Berghoff that after 107 years of operation, The Berghoff would close on February 28, 2006. Herman and Jan were the third generation of Berghoffs to own the restaurant.
The restaurant's basement cafe reopened on April 18, 2006, during weekday lunch hours only, and was run by Carlyn Berghoff, Herman and Jan's daughter. She also reopened the Berghoff's bar on May 23, 2006, under the new name "17-West at The Berghoff." At one point, Carlyn Berghoff converted the dining room of the restaurant into a private banquet hall called "The Century Room.", however, it's back and running as a full-service restaurant like it once did.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Bagel Restaurant and Deli of Chicago & Skokie, Illinois.

After surviving the Holocaust, Elsa and Herman Golenzer, who had owned a restaurant in Hamburg, Germany, along with their children Michael and Ruth, brought their family recipes and authentic Old World cooking to Chicago's North Side.
A favorite menu item is Lox, chive cream cheese, onion and tomato on a bagel.
The original 34-seat location at 4806 North Kedzie Avenue was formerly occupied by a baker called "The Bagel Bakery." The family was unable to afford a new sign so they decided to go with the name "The Bagel Restaurant" and kept the sign in place.

Ruth's sons Danny and the late Michael took over in 1969.
4806 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, location.
4806 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, location.
In 1977, demand for The Bagel's offerings outstripped the capabilities of its original location's seating capacity so the deli moved to its second location at 3000 West Devon Avenue in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of the West Ridge community, where it remained for 15 years.
3000 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, location.
Two weeks after closing the Devon location, The Bagel opened up in Lakeview at 3107 North Broadway Avenue in December 1992.
3107 North Broadway, Chicago, Illinois, location.
The Old Orchard Shopping Center location in Skokie first opened in 1987.
Old Orchard Shopping Center location in Skokie, Illinois.
Deli Counter at the Old Orchard Shopping Center location in Skokie, Illinois.
Since the closure of the Lord & Taylor store next door, the owners of Old Orchard have been planning to reconfigure the area. The Bagel's Skokie locations lease had already expired and had been operating month to month. They tried to stay open as long as they could because their customers were like family. 

The Bagel Deli and Restaurant closed the Skokie location on November 29, 2018.

In hundreds of replies from disappointed customers, longtime patrons bemoaned the loss of favorite menu items like kreplach and matzah ball soup and questioned the reasons for the restaurant's closure. Some suggested Old Orchard had decided not to renew the lease. Others suggested Skokie's tax rates were a contributing factor.

The Bagel's 3107 North Broadway location in Chicago is still open as of the date at the top of the article. 

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

The History of Ann Sather's Restaurants of Chicago, Illinois.

There really was an Ann Sather. And over sixty years ago, she decided what Chicago needed was another restaurant. Her restaurant. A place where people could come for generous homemade meals, warm hospitality and a genuine concern for their welfare.

So when the Swedish owners of Villa Sweden restaurant located at 5207 North Clark Street, decided to retire, Ann quit her job of 22 years, pooled her life savings and bought herself a diner. She renamed it "Ann Sather Restaurant."
For 30 years Ann ran the diner herself. Her devotion to wholesome, made-from-scratch food, low prices, and hard work became legendary.
In 1981 after searching for a successor who would meet her stringent demands for quality and remain devoted to her patrons, Ann sold the restaurant to Tom Tunney a 24-year-old graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Tom apprenticed with Ann for a year learning the business from top to bottom. Tom, a Southside Irish lad with French culinary training was learning all of the best Scandinavian cooking secrets in town.
Although Ann Sather passed away in 1996, her spirit prevails. In the just good food, just good friends, and just good fun philosophy that has made her diners famous. Over the last 22 years, Tom has expanded the business to include the most famous breakfast in town, several neighborhood cafes and Ann Sather Catering is renowned for its wedding receptions, banquets, and catering deliveries.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
The first addition to the Ann Sather family arrived on March 9, 1987. Located at 5207 N. Clark Street, Ann Sather Andersonville features exquisite original artworks by Scandinavian artist Sigmund Arseth. Tunney commissioned Arseth to paint 12 canvasses telling the story of Nils, a young boy who in Swedish folklore flew high above Sweden on the back of a goose. Arseth also painted the walls with decorative trim and detailing, reminiscent of Swedish folk art.
The other additions to the Ann Sather family have been on a smaller scale and known as the Ann Sather Cafes. The cafes seat approximately 25 to 50 people depending upon the location. The food served is breakfast and lunch with a lot of take-out orders. Things changed over the years but not the good food and good friends of the Ann Sather Restaurants.
1978 Menu                                        1978 Menu

Ann Sather Restaurants has also been instrumental in serving the community with its generous support of local organizations and causes. As Tom says: "My business is a two-way street. We have to take care of each other."

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

The History of Anderson's Candy Shop in Richmond, Illinois.

Anderson's Candy Shop was founded by Arthur Anderson in 1919 when he left the most famous candy company in Chicago, Kranz, to start his own business. He opened a small shop on Armitage Avenue in Chicago with a make-good gift of flavoring and chocolate from local chocolate and flavoring companies. If Arthur made good he was to pay them back.
Arthur and his family did make good but driven by rising rent Anderson left the city in 1926 and bought a house on what is today Route 12 in Richmond, Illinois. He ran his business out of his front porch and living room selling candy in the cool months and ice cream in the summer.
There was a sign above the door which read: I MAKE MY OWN CANDIES.

Arthur Anderson's motto was: No fancy packaging just the best candy you can buy and that's what you get when you buy Anderson’s. Times got tough during the Great Depression and the war years for Arthur and his candy business. He had to sell off parts of his property in order to keep the business going.
In 1933 the whole nature of the business changed after Arthur and his family visited the Chicago World’s Fair. He came home with the first air conditioner in McHenry County, which allowed him to sell chocolate year-round.

The candy shop almost closed during the Second World War because of rationing on chocolate and sugar supplies. During the war years, Anderson went to work in a defense plant but each month he would save up supplies. When they had enough, Arthur and his wife would open the store for a day but even with a limit of one box per customer, their supply would sell out in just a few hours.
Arthur passed his passion for chocolate down to his son, Raynold Anderson. Raynold was away fighting in Europe during the Second World War. When he returned, he took over the daily operation of the candy shop and married Violet. While Arthur established the business, Raynold expanded it. The post-war economy boomed and people took to the roads to travel like never before. Tourists would pass our shop on their way to Rockford, Chicago and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, making sure to stop at Anderson's Candy Shop to pick up candy and to talk to the candymaker and his family on the way.
Throughout Raynold's time leading the business methods never changed. In the cooking room, Raynold used the same recipes and methods Arthur taught him and he passed those on to his two boys, Lars, and Lief who are teaching them to their children today.
Lars and Lief took over Anderson's Candy Shop in the late 1980s but continued to practice the same standards of production and service our parents and grandparents showed us years ago. A lot has changed in the world in 90-something years but at Anderson's things are still done the old-fashioned way. They use only the best ingredients including double refined sugar, butter, aged vanilla, and cream. They hand make all of their candy, cooking it in small batches and using recipes handed down through three generations. Leif personally answers phone calls, e-mails, and talks to customers in the Richmond shop every week. Loyal customers appreciate the difference passion and tradition make when producing gourmet chocolates.

Katie Anderson-Tedder is a 4th generation confectioner for Anderson's Candy Shop.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

The History of Affy Tapple, Chicago and America's First and Original Caramel Apple.

For Midwesterners, caramel apples frequently means Affy Tapple, a tradition over 70 years old. The first Affy Tapple was created in 1948 by the Kastrup family. According to history, this was the first caramel apple created in the United States - which is why their tagline is "The Original Caramel Apple!"
The Kastrup family opens an Affy Tapple store at 7117 North Clark Street in Chicago in 1952. Why the goofy name Affy Tapple? So they would be the first name in the confectionary section of the telephone book.

Chicago has long been home to many small, well-respected confectioners. Edna Kastrup was a bookkeeper in one of these establishments. When the company she worked for went up for sale, in the 1950s, she bought it. The name Affy Tapple was trademarked in 1948, said Stuart Sorkin, current President & CEO of Affy Tapple. "Kastrup was the one who really built the Affy Tapple brand to what it becomes," he said.

In 1960, schools start selling Affy Tapples to raise funds for programs. "Affy Tapple Day" quickly becomes one of the most popular days of the school year. Many fundraising events in the 1960s and early 70s bought broken stick Affy Tapples and chocolate-covered frozen bananas for 5¢ each, giving the group a little more profit.
Affy Man
The Founding Family—the Kastrups—sell their company. "Everybody and their grandmother wanted to buy it," said Sorkin. But it was he and his partners who purchased the company in 1995. It employs 35 full-time employees, some of whom have work many years for Affy Tapple. Numerous part-time workers are added during the busy season.

Affy Tapple moved from its original location on Clark Street in Chicago in 2000 to a new state-of-the-art facility in Niles, Illinois.

The company bought Mrs. Prindables in 2001, a gourmet apple and confectionery company, which sells a premium brand of handmade confections and it makes gourmet caramel apples and candies for upscale mail-order catalogs like Harry and David.

Affy Tapple operates year-round but its busiest season is mid-August through the end of November. It uses approximately 45,000 bushels of apples each year.

Jonathan, Macintosh, and Granny Smith apples are used for Affy Tapples, said company general manager Leo Grigerio. The larger Golden and Red Delicious are at the heart of the gourmet brands. Other apples can be used for special orders.

In the fall, apples arrive in Niles from Washington state. Earlier in the year, they come from Michigan. The fruit is used within 24 hours of delivery but "you don't want the apples too cold or too hot," said Grigerio. Caramel won't stick to an apple that's wet or cold.

Affy Tapple makes each apple by hand. "Although we're in the 21st century it doesn't mean everything has evolved to the 21st-century automation," said Grigerio. 

"Individuals contribute to the success of this place."

From large bins that hold up to 14 bushels, apples are poured into the 'sticking section.' Fruits that are too small or too large are eliminated. 

A team of women, sitting around a carousel, grab individual apples and, using a press-like device, insert the wooden stick. Each worker impales 23 to 25 apples a minute.

The apples then travel up a conveyor belt where they are dipped in caramel. The same recipe has been used since the company's creation. The caramel is made in small batches, from scratch, every day. There should be at least an eighth of an inch of caramel on each Affy Tapple, said Grigerio.

The recipe's exact proportions are a secret but Grigerio said the basic ingredients are condensed milk, corn syrup, and sugar. A different, richer caramel is used in the company's gourmet products. Knowing when the caramel is done depends as much upon sight as it does upon the recipe. "It's 50 percent visual; knowing the right consistency and shine," said Grigerio.

Affy Tapples come plain and with peanuts, the latter being the overwhelming favorite. After the dipping, apples are rolled in chopped nuts. The plain variety is made on a separate production line. For those with nut allergies, there's no concern about cross-contamination.

The chilly chocolate room is where the gourmet apples are made. After apples have been dipped in caramel, they come here to be drizzled in dark chocolate, white chocolate and sometimes both. They can also be rolled in any number of "add ons" like cashews, raisins, toffee or whatever the customer may want.

"One of our most important philosophies is we can supply anyone with anything," Grigerio said.

Affy Tapple is ready to try anything, said Sorkin, although the results can be questionable. Harry and David asked the company for a caramel pear. It was a flop, however, because the fruit doesn't hold the coating as well as apple. Then there was the idea of combining apples with jelly beans. "Apples are great and jelly beans are great but together ... too sweet," Sorkin said.

"We have our purists and the purists are religious to Affy Tapples. We don't want to forget our roots and our roots are here in the Midwest where we have loyal, loyal customers."

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.