Category Archives: Restaurants

Pizza in Springfield

Springfieldians got their first taste of pizza at The Wonder Inn tavern, 808 E. Washington St., in 1947. Fred and Anna Viele, who operated The Wonder Inn, began marketing “La Pizza” as “something new and tasty from Italy” in February … Continue reading

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Chesapeake Seafood House

NOTE: This entry has been edited. See below. The home that makes up the core of the Chesapeake Seafood House, 3045 Clear Lake Ave., was built sometime after 1857 by John McGredy, a 19th-century Scottish immigrant turned nurseryman. McGredy apparently … Continue reading

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Oriental Cafe

The Oriental Café was Springfield’s most popular Chinese restaurant for more than 40 years – and, when it closed in 1955, the only one. The café, on the second floor of the buildings at 424 and 426 E. Monroe St., … Continue reading

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Johnny Connors (boxer, saloon-keeper)

Johnny Connors – boxer, saloon-keeper and sportsman – was small in stature, but he played an outsize role in Springfield for nearly 80 years. Connors (1867-1966) was born John O’Connor in Ireland, but boxed as Johnny Connors. He never legally changed … Continue reading

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Late-night Springfield, 1935

J. Emil Smith wrote a daily column, “Making Conversation,” for more than 28 years, starting when he became editor of the Illinois State Journal in 1930. Much of the column was made up of briefs, jokes, poems and birthday notices for friends … Continue reading

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Prohibition referendums in Sangamon County, 1908-17

Most of Sangamon County voted itself “dry” as soon as it legally could in 1908. But it would take four referendums and nearly 10 years before the city of Springfield finally succumbed to prohibitionist sentiment. After a bitter struggle, the … Continue reading

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The Political Rise of the Adamitis & Yacubasky Families

From Lithuanians in Springfield, Illinois The story goes that for decades, Republican Party leader Don “Doc” Adams (Lith. Adomaitis) of Springfield exercised significant patronage power in both the public and private sectors. When Doc died in 2011 at age 75, … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Hotels & taverns, Lithuanians, Politics, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | 2 Comments

Vito Impastato (restaurateur, organized crime suspect)

Vito Impastato, though often suspected of crimes including kidnapping, bank robbery and murder, built an enduring career as a restaurant operator in Springfield. His restaurants began in the 1930s with the Club Holiday, MacArthur Boulevard and North Grand Avenue. Later, … Continue reading

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Maldaner’s restaurant

John Maldaner (1852-1924), the namesake founder of Maldaner’s restaurant, got his start at age 14, making cakes and candies for a confectioner on the north side of what is now the Old Capitol Plaza. He went into the confectionery business … Continue reading

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The Mack family and Springfield’s McDonald’s restaurants

Springfield’s Lithuanian historian, Sandy Baksys, covers the beginnings of McDonald’s restaurants in Springfield in three posts on her Lithuanians in Springfield, Illinois web site. Here’s how she led off the first installment: Anybody who’s eaten a McDonald’s hamburger in Springfield … Continue reading

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