Friday, November 17, 2023

The History of Chicago's Treasure Island Grocery Store Chain.

Treasure Island Foods was founded in 1963 by Christ Kamberos and his brothers. Christ Kamberos was born in Chicago to Greek immigrants. His father sold produce from a push cart, and this early exposure to the food business sparked an interest in Christ that never waned. 

He grew up to become a grocery innovator, traveling the world to bring unusual and organic produce to Chicagoans. His stores were known for their wide selection of specialty products, and Julia Child once referred to Treasure Island as "America's most European supermarket."
Treasure Island's first store at 1639 North Wells Street, Chicago
Treasure Island's first store was opened at 1639 North Wells Street in the Old Town Triangle, Chicago, in 1964. The chain quickly expanded to include over 20 stores in the Chicago area. The Wells Street store was one of the most popular locations, and it was known for its convenient location in the Old Town Triangle and its wide selection of specialty foods.

The Treasure Island chain filed for bankruptcy in 2018, closing all stores. The Wells Street store was sold to a developer in 2019.

Christ Kamberos died on October 27, 2009. He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, Illinois.

A timeline of the Treasure Island Grocery stores:
  • 1963: The Treasure Island brand was founded by Christ Kamberos.
  • 1964: The first store on Wells Street opens.
  • 1980s-2010s: The Treasure Island chain expands to over 20 stores in the Chicago area.
  • 2009: Christ Kamberos died.
  • 2018: The Treasure Island chain files for bankruptcy, closing all its stores.
  • 2019: The Wells Street store location was sold to a real estate developer.
Christ Kamberos (1926-2009)
Christ Kamberos (1926-2009), chief executive officer and President of Treasure Island Foods, offered selections from around the world. The store met approval in Chicagoland, a market with a diverse ethnic population that appreciated his mixture of exotic foods, fresh produce and flair. 

Mr. Kamberos won numerous awards from Fancy Food and Specialty Foods magazines for his innovative merchandising and creative food presentation. He was born on the West Side of Chicago in 1926, one of three brothers and three sisters of Greek immigrants. He served in the military during World War II. 

His business life began after the War. The Kamberos family opened the grocery chain Sure Save and sold the group of 10 stores to the National Food Supermarkets in 1961. In 1963, Mr. Kamberos and his brothers formed Treasure Island Foods.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. We loved the store in Palatine. Our go to place for British goods, especially stone ground flours.

  2. European food stores are slowly diminishing to my sadness. It's difficult to find Polish and Czech food in CA where I now live.


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