Category Archives: Restaurants

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 | 9 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 | 21 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

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

Posted in Amusements, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Sports and recreation, Theaters | 9 Comments

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

Posted in Amusements, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Local government, Media, Politics, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | Leave a comment