Sunday, July 7, 2019

The History of Lazar’s Kosher Sausage Factory in Chicago.

After World War II Chicago’s Hollywood Park neighborhood underwent rapid development, attracting many Jewish families from the west side. You’d think they would have been thrilled that a family-owned business from the old neighborhood wanted to follow them to the north side, but Hollywood Park didn’t exactly welcome Sol Lazar with open arms.

Lazar wanted to relocate his business, Lazar’s Kosher Sausage Factory—a business he started in 1913 at 3612 West 12th Street (12th Street renamed Roosevelt Road on May 25, 1919)to a large plot of land he owned in the North Park community.
Lazar’s Kosher Sausage Factory at 3612 West 12th Street, Chicago.
Sol Lazar built a new factory with a retail deli at the front of the building in 1958. It was located at 5511-29 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago.
Lazar’s Kosher Sausage Factory at
5511-29 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago.
On March 12, 1957, Nathan M. Cohen heard a case brought by Sol Lazar who sued to rezone the property on Kedzie to build a new pickle and sausage factory on his land. Willis W, Helfrich, CTA assistant Secretary, testified he could smell a "Nauseating" odor as far as 125 feet away when he visited the Roosevelt Road Location. Son Seymour Lazar told reporters the jars Helfrich brought and opened were from the garbage can behind the factory. 

Zeamore A. Ader, attorney for the Hollywood Park association, alleges that Lazar's Kosher Sausage Factory has been issued a building permit in December of 1957. Lazar said a permit had been issued and he plans to construct a factory on the premises for smoking and packing sausages.

In 1958 Lazar’s opened his modern facility at 5511 North Kedzie Avenue. (today, Northside College Prep High School is  located on the site.) In hindsight, Lazar may have been right about the impact of his plant being good for the neighborhood. Although the city originally zoned the east side of Kedzie south of Bryn Mawr for residential development, the small businesses and light manufacturing shops that eventually lined the street contributed to the economic stability of the neighborhood and lowered the population density of an already crowded area.

And the smell? I don't remember there being any smell, but that of cooked meat. My folks shopped at Lazars. The deli counter was on the left as you walked in. There were a few chairs on the right at the windows facing Kedzie. Lazar's was a busy butcher shop. We waited for our number to be called. My personal favorite was their 4 to a pound hot dogs -- or as they called them -- 'dinner franks.' They had a wonderful taste, unlike the bland Vienna hot dogs served by most Chicagoland hot dog joints. We'd also buy a whole beef brisket, which was our family's second-best meal, next to my Mom's roasted chicken on Friday nights.

Sol Lazar died at 76 on Sunday, June 9, 1969.

Sol Lazar’s daughter and her husband, who had worked at Lazar’s on Kedzie, uphold the legacy of Lazar’s Kosher Meats in Jerusalem, Israel. On the wall of the Jerusalem store are photographs of both Chicago Lazar stores; the first was on 12th street on the west side; the second was on Kedzie Avenue on the north side. 
Lazar’s Kosher Meats storefront in Jerusalem, Israel. (2015)

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


  1. Loved the story and the fact that it is going strong in Israel.

  2. happy they are still in business after all these years!

  3. Used to be able to get Lazar's hot dogs on Maxwell Street at the stand under the expressway. Long before I became addicted to Vienna dogs Lazar's were my favorite.

    1. I remember the stand. The guy who owned that stand was from Westchester I believe. And they were, by far, much better tasting dogs than any others since.

  4. Oh god, this is great. I lived on Spaulding two blocks due west of Lazar's from 1961 until the late '60's. My mom would give me some money and I'd buy a pound or two of corned beef, rye bread, and maybe some other stuff. I remember the very officious guys who waited on you in their white coats. And boy, when they called your number, you'd better be ready. If you were undecided, they'd just go on to the next person. The corned beef was wonderful and I think they had three different kinds (probably depending on fattiness): no. 1, no.2, no. 3. What a pleasant memory. And to add to it, just north of Lazars, on Kedzie, was the wonderful hot dog shack owned by the Lerner brothers. It was a great time to live in that neighborhood, to be Jewish, and to love Jewish food.

  5. Loved the pepper meat sticks or now they call them beef jerky

  6. We lived in Budlong Woods. I remember a Lazar's salami always hanging from a hook in our kitchen . Usually lasted a few week.


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