Chicago’s 10 Oldest Restaurants

By Jennifer Pesole & Christina Welky

The Berghoff

The holiday season is in the air and people are frantically running around to finish their Christmas shopping. This is a time not only just for gift giving, but it is also a time when many people get together to go out to dinner.

Society has an assumption that restaurants have a difficult time thriving in an industry where a new restaurant is only around the corner. However, Tian Luo and Philip B. Stark concluded in 2014, that only 17 percent of independently owned restaurant startups closed in their first year of business, compared with 19 percent for every other service-providing startups.

Chicago is home to 10 of the oldest restaurants and the oldest, Daley’s Restaurant, dates back to 1892. Unfortunately, the reporters were not allowed to incorporate this restaurant into the list due to Hyde Park’s crime rate. Therefore, this list dates back to The Berghoff, which opened in 1898.

Chicago independent food critic Michael Nagrant, a previous writer for the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye, was asked which of the restaurants had the greatest historical presence. Nagrant states, “I love that The Berghoff has a Chicago liquor license number one. I love that the Beatles once visited Margie’s. The family behind Italian Village is extraordinary and the second generation built an incredible wine cellar.”

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