Thursday, December 12, 2019

Three downtown Chicago restaurant streets nicknamed in the early 1900s.

The reason restaurants group together is not hard to understand. Groups of the same kind of businesses attracted flocks of customers who knew they were likely to find something they wanted because of the larger selection within a small area.
Bob's Quick Lunch at 295½ West Van Buren Street at Clark Street, downtown Chicago. 1904 (Address before the 1909 Chicago Street Renumbering.)
In the early 20th century, when chain restaurants were becoming common, lesser-known restaurants were eager to locate near the winners to catch their overflow. It’s also a marketing ploy. City officials declared a street a "restaurant row" to help boost the local economy.

Toothpick Row: Clark Street had lots of lunchroom businesses.

Restaurant Row: Randolph Street where there were 39 busy restaurants within a six-block stretch.

Cafeteria Row: Wabash Avenue had the largest number of self-service restaurants in the world.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

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