Oldest Chicago Restaurants

Curious as to the Chicago restaurants, currently open, that have been in operation the longest. With thousands of establishments doing business, changing names, changing locations, etc, I can’t imagine any list being complete and/or 100% accurate, but if anyone has any idea of at least the more recognizable names…

The Berghoff? It’s been around since 1898; although it closed briefly in 2006 it’s now in its third generation of ownership.

Not the oldest, but Lou Mitchell’s(breakfast and lunch diner) is from the 20’s I believe.

John Barleycorn’s (a pub and grill) on Lincoln Avenue claims to have been around since before Prohibition. I don’t know exactly how long.

Edit: just looked it up. Only got the current name in the 1960s, but has been there selling booze since 1890.

Looked up Lou Mitchell’s. Claims to be from 1923.

The Italian Villiage claims to be from 1927.

Daley’s restaurant claims 1892.

The Green Door Tavern claims it was built in 1872, but as a grocery store. Not sure when it became a restaurant.

Also found Schaller’s, supposedly since 1881.


Also see Schulien’s

Looked up most of the info from this discussion from another site


I’d love to know the nearest restaurant to predate the chicago fire(1871)

As an aside, I would love a lesson on hyperlinks so I don’t have paste whole urls anymore.

Also Musso and Frank, 1919.

It’s as simple as using the URL tag. The syntax is like so:

[noparse]The thread from Chowhound[/noparse]
will turn into The thread from Chowhound

If you forget, scroll down to the bottom of the page. On the left-hand side, there’s a little box labeled “Posting Rules.” One line says BB code is On. Clicking on that link will bring up a page explaining all the BBCode tags, including the hyperlink URL tag.

I’m having trouble getting much info on the Walnut Room in Marshal Fields’s/Macy’s on State, but this article says the Christmas tree tradition is 103 this year, so at least 1908.

That store was opened in 1893, so that puts the Walnut Room sometime between 1893 and 1908.

Edit -this says 1907.

Not sure what you mean by “nearest restaurant” and “predate the Chicago Fire.”

Of all the restaurants in the world that predate the Chicago fire and are still open, which one is closest to the boundaries of that fire? Are, perhaps, any within the current city limits of Chicago? Are any within the erstwhile city limits of Chicago?

There aren’t any restaurants still open that were around before the fire.

Went there again last year – was not impressed, quality seemed to have fallen off.

Try Shallers…the oldest of the old. 37th & Halstead

I went there for the first time a few months ago, and while the food was very good, it wasn’t as amazing as I expected. Obviously I can’t compare it to what it was before but it seemed more casual than I was expecting.

The attraction of Berghoff’s was always that it was casual and inexpensive. During my college days, it was the favorite hang-out when I was in the Loop. I don’t think the food was ever wonderful (although my college-age taste buds would eat anything happily), but when I was there last year, it was pretty mediocre… and not so cheap.