Category Archives: Restaurants

‘Tamale men’ (1890s)

Roving “tamale men” became a late-night phenomenon in downtown Springfield around the turn of the 20th century, and a single family kept the tradition going until the 1960s. The Illinois State Journal reviewed the local tamale industry – “for the … Continue reading

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Leland Farm (1880)

The Leland Farm, 600-some acres on what today is Springfield’s near west side, supplied the Leland Hotel with the freshest of food for decades. The hotel operated at Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue from 1867 until 1970 (not counting a … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Business, Hotels & taverns, Restaurants | 2 Comments

St. Nicholas Hotel early days

J. Emil Smith, editor, publisher and columnist for the Illinois State Journal, wrote the following memory of the early St. Nicholas Hotel on Nov. 28, 1943, a few days before the McCreery family relinquished ownership. The McCreerys had operated the … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Historic Sites, Hotels & taverns, National Register, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Bachmann & Keefner Pharmacy

When it closed in 2003, Bachmann & Keefner Pharmacy, with its black-and-white mosaic floor, handsome walnut paneling and fire-engine-red bar stools, ended a 90-year tradition at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue. The corner building, under various … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Medicine, Restaurants | 1 Comment

Italian Villa fire (1932)

The explosion that wrecked the Italian Villa nightclub on East Monroe Street in 1932, killing two, was never explained. Suspicion, fueled by testimony from passersby, the track records of the club’s owners, and a rash of explosions around central Illinois … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Hotels & taverns, Italians, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Root beer stands

This entry has been edited to add photo above. Root beer stands first appear in Springfield city directories in 1931, with three outlets mentioned: A&W Root Beer, 408 E. Adams St; Icy Root Beer, Fifth Street and South Grand Avenue; … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Restaurants | 7 Comments

The Sazarac

The Sazarac, a bar, restaurant and center for political intrigue, was a fixture in the 200 block of South Sixth Street in Springfield for more than a century. The Sazarac was on the west side of Sixth Street for most … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Hotels & taverns, Restaurants | 3 Comments

Delmonico Restaurant (photo)

  The Delmonico Restaurant operated from about 1898 to 1905 at 126 N. Fifth St. in Springfield. Although the name didn’t change over the period, the operators did. The Delmonico’s first owner apparently was William A. Stone, who ran the … Continue reading

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The Mill, tavern and restaurant

The Mill, 906 N. 15th St., was one of Springfield’s most popular dining spots for nearly 40 years. Brothers Herman (1897-1980) and Louis Cohen (1893-1962) opened the tavern and restaurant in May 1933 on the same corner where they had … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Fires, Hotels & taverns, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

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

Posted in Business, Hotels & taverns, Italians, Restaurants | 11 Comments