Friday, June 7, 2019

Zephyr Café & Ice Cream Parlor, Chicago, Illinois.

Byron Kouris was among the many Greek-Americans who entered the restaurant business. In the 1960’s he started a chain called the Lunch Pail. He started Byron’s Hot Dogs with locations in Ravenswood (1701 W Lawrence Avenue), Wrigleyville (1017 W Irving Park Road), the Near West Side (680 N Halsted Street) and Lincoln Park (850 W North Avenue).
Zephyr Cafe & Ice Cream Parlor, Chicago, Illinois. (1985)
In 1976 he started Zephyr, a Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor at 1777 W Wilson Avenue on the Southeast corner of Wilson and Ravenswood Avenues, in an area considered off the beaten path, in the old Pickard Building. Customers somehow found Zephyr and came in droves. So much so that often lines formed down the block on spring, summer, and fall evenings.
The old-fashioned diner had an art deco theme with colored mirrors on the walls with neon lights. They served generous portions of food which were named after entertainment stars of the 1920s and ’30s; such as the Greta Garbo Salad and the Duke Ellington Club.
Zephyr was most famous for its fantastic ice cream creations. There was the War of the Worlds, a gargantuan 10-scoop sundae; the Marathon, a 64-ounce shake. 
Zephyr Café & Ice Cream Parlor's "Son of Frankenstein" 6-scoop banana split.
The Frankenstein’s Monster was a large-sized banana split, and the Son of Frankenstein was an even bigger 6-scoop banana split. 
After 30 years in business, Zephyr closed permanently in 2006 because of a lease dispute with the landlord.
The Zephyr location is now O'Shaughnessy's Public House.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


  1. They had the best malts,and Banana splits, I took my nephew Carl, there, every Tuesday, after doing my laundry.sad they closed, and never relocated 😢.

  2. I believe a murder took place there at some point

    1. Not actually a murder. A manager was shot in the back by robbers in 1986. He was left paralyzed.

    2. No murder. A hold up and a shooting. A manager was paralyzed as a result.

    3. they didn’t have to shot him!

  3. Fond memory of my teen years. It was a cool place we could go and feel "grown up" because it was really hip.

  4. I used to go there all the time, we lived on Leavitt between Montrose and irving park rd. and went there all summer long... and yes we shared the war of the world's.... Northsider all the way..

  5. Their french onion soup and buffalo wings were great also.


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