Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The History of the Chicago Claim Company Restaurant, 2314 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois.

The story of the Chicago Claim Company, 2314 North Clark Street, goes back to 1973. 
Created by Jim Errant at Clark and Belden on Chicago's Northside, the restaurant became an instant hit. It is known throughout the area for two new restaurant concepts: the build-your-own gourmet burger and the Salad Saloon. The decor follows a southwestern theme, perfect for a restaurant where the burger came to be called the "Motherload."
This is an actual Miners Pan Menu from The Chicago Claim Company Restaurant, signed by artist James Hribar. It depicts a Miner with his pan and a donkey behind him. The award sticker is dated 1974. It's 16" in diameter and 4" deep.
Who's up for a food challenge? Can you eat a 3½ pound burger and all the [house-made] chips? In 45 minutes?

Chris Lilja, Libertyville, Illinois, did it in 36 minutes in November 2015.

In 1979, the Claim Company put down stakes in the suburbs, opening the relatively new Northbrook Court shopping center in Northbrook, Illinois. Designer Spiro Zakas created a futuristic version of the Chicago restaurant's southwestern concept. While the Northbrook location was much larger than the Chicago restaurant, the new site still needed to be more significant to handle the crowds. Wait times were usually about an hour for lunch and dinner. 
Since the mid-1970s, my "Regular" at the Chicago Claim Company has been a Hamburger cooked medium with Cheddar Cheese, Tomatoes, fried onions, and Teriyaki Sauce on an Onion Roll, plus a side of Teriyaki. Every Time.
From the Private Collection of Dr. Neil Gale.

In 1981, the Claim Company moved West to the Oakbrook Center. It was the group's largest restaurant and quickly became a hot spot.

Jim Errant's success attracted national interest, and in 1994, he sold the Claim Company to an East Coast company with plans to expand outside the Chicagoland market. The Claim Company continued to thrive during the 1980s and into the 90s. The buyers' expansion plans never came to fruition, and the Claim Company closed its doors in 1998.

Loyal customers and the former owner mourned its loss. In the autumn of 2009, they opened a new version, The Claim Company, dropping Chicago from the name in Northbrook Court. In designing the new restaurant's look, they drew inspiration from its previous three locations. Stepping through the doors should feel like a homecoming.
Northbrook Court, Northbrook, Illinois.

The Claim Company opened in the Hawthorn Mall, 506 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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