Big-T Burger, Devon and Milwaukee Avenues, Chicago.
Charles "Chuck" Nichols ran a Tastee Freeze franchise (still serving the "Big Tee Burger"), which closed every winter when ice cream lost its appeal. In order to operate year-round, Nichols renegotiated the lease with the building's owner and turned the space into a burger business. To attract teens from nearby Taft High School, he dubbed the restaurant "Big-T Burger."
Looking North from Devon at Milwaukee from the southwest corner.
Nichols worked there seven days a week. He overcame competition from a nearby McDonald's and Burger King as well as Superdawg across the street. On the last day of business, before he was forced to close Big-T Burgers at Devon and Milwaukee, he told his sons to be at their "very best." That was his philosophy every day.
Nichols gave more than his time to the business. Homeless men often wandered into Big-T Burger, and Nichols knew every one of them by name. He would give them a hot dog and a cup of coffee when they came in. Mr. Nichols, 89, of Park Ridge, died on October 26, 2003. Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.