Chicago Trivia Quiz #8—Answers

1. Skip’s Drive-In (aka Fiesta) was located near __________.

(C) North and First

2. The manager of the 1969 Cubs was __________.

(D) Leo Durocher

3. Garfield Goose thought he was __________.

(A) King of the United States

4. It’s Here was a __________.

(D) coffee house

5. Who was nicknamed “The Cool Gent?”

(C) Herb Kent


Chicago Trivia Quiz #8

A quiz for Chicago Baby-Boomers—

1. Skip’s Drive-In (aka Fiesta) was located near __________.

(A) Grand and Harlem

(B) Roosevelt and First

(C) North and First

(D) Lake and Mannheim

2. The manager of the 1969 Cubs was __________.

(A) Chuck Tanner

(B) Al Lopez

(C) Eddie Stanky

(D) Leo Durocher

3. Garfield Goose thought he was __________.

(A) King of the United States

(B) Mayor of Chicago

(C) Emperor of the North Pole

(D) Donald Duck’s brother

4. It’s Here was a __________.

(A) clothing store

(B) dance hall

(C) theme park

(D) coffee house

5. Who was nicknamed “The Cool Gent?”

(A) Dick Biondi

(B) Dick Gregory

(C) Herb Kent

(D) Hugh Hefner







Then and Now, California-Fillmore

1954–California Avenue @ Fillmore Street, view south

2018–the same location

In 1954 this area in the eastern end of North Lawndale was mixed use, a jumble of factories and stores and apartment buildings.  Just to the south, Douglas Park offered a welcome open space in a densely-built part of the city.

Douglas Park is still here in 2018.  And after decades of decline, the neighborhood is showing signs of rebirth.  Trees now line California Avenue, while a modern fire station stands on the east side of this block.  Though most of the factories are gone, a sprinkling of new residential construction has begun to appear.



A Potato Chip Urban Legend

A few weeks ago I demolished a Chicago urban legend—namely, that Frango Mints were once named Franco Mints.  No, they weren’t.  So no, they never changed names to avoid identifying with General Francisco Franco.  Those candies were always called “Frango.”

There is also a legend that Jay’s Potato Chips were once called Japp’s Potato Chips, but changed their name when the United States and Japan went to war.  Believe it or not, that story is true.

Leonard and Eugenia Japp began selling food from the back of a truck in 1927.  Within a few years the business had taken off, and they opened a factory on the South Side. Their big seller was Mrs. Japp’s Potato Chips.

December 7, 1941—seventy-seven years ago today.  Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and we were suddenly in World War II.  And also suddenly, anything sounding even vaguely Japanese was unpopular.  So Mr. and Mrs. Japp changed around a few letters and came up with Jay’s.

Jay’s Potato Chips remained Chicago’s favorite potato chip for decades.  Today the brand is owned by a conglomerate.  The South Side plant closed in 2007.

Now that this story is finished, I’m heading to Rockford to get some Mrs. Fisher’s Potato Chips.  They’re almost as good as Yo-Ho’s were.


75th Birthday of Chicago-Style Pizza!

Deep-dish pizza is distinctly Chicago.  Seventy-five years ago today, this culinary delight was introduced to the public.  That was the day Pizzeria Uno opened.

The story goes that two Chicago guys, Ric Riccardo and Ike Sewell, wanted to start a Mexican restaurant.  But after they tried preparing some Mexican food, they reasoned that the Windy City wasn’t ready for such exotic cuisine.  Pizza would be a better choice.

In the 1940s Italian cooking wasn’t considered mainstream American.  But it did have loyal followers, and their numbers were growing.  To put it in 2018 terms, think of it this way—Riccardo and Sewell planned to open an Ethiopian restaurant, then decided to go with Thai food.

They found a site in the basement of an old townhouse at Ohio and Wabash, across from Medinah Temple.  The neighborhood was they known as Tower Town.  It was trendy but low-rent.  That fit the concept for Pizzeria Uno.

Where it all began—29 East Ohio Street

Pizza had been around the city’s Italian cafes for decades.  It was served in tiny wedges, and mainly used as an appetizer.  Even on a full pie the crust was wafer-thin.

The pizza at Pizzeria Uno was going to be different—cooked in a deep dish, with a thick crust and heaps of cheese.  Who came up with this innovative style?  Riccardo?  Sewell?  Their chef, Rudy Malnati?  The debate goes on.

So on a wartime Friday evening in December, Pizzeria Uno opened with little fanfare.  Business was slow at first.  Gradually, Chicago-style pizza caught on.  By 1955, people were lining up outside in the cold, waiting to get in.

The Ohio Street cafe had no room to expand, so a satellite location began operating a block north on Wabash.  Naturally, it was named Pizzeria Due.  And though both places claimed to be using the same recipe, real Chicagoans knew that Uno pizzas had more cheese, while Due went heavier on the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, rival pizza palaces were springing up all around Chicago.  Other cities launched their own versions of deep-dish.  By 1980, when Pizzeria Uno finally began franchising, many of the copycats were already well-established.

Today you can order a Chicago-style pizza in such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. (Though according to my son Nick, you probably shouldn’t.)  Yet if you have a sense of history—and don’t mind waiting in line—you can still go to the place where it was invented, in the basement of the townhouse at Ohio and Wabash.


Then and Now, Michigan-111th

1907–Michigan Avenue @ 111th Street, view south

2918–the same location

On the far South Side, Michigan Avenue runs along the top of a glacial ridge.  Here the avenue developed into a major thoroughfare.  By 1907 it had a streetcar line and a ribbon commercial strip. Check out the building signs in the older photo, and you’ll spy a photography studio.

A century ago traffic was so light on this stretch of Michigan that small children could wander around aimlessly in the street—not advisable today, in the era of the automobile.  Looking down the block in 2018, many of the old buildings are gone.  However, the building in the right foreground has survived, while being extended and renovated and truncated in various ways.


Chicago Trivia Quiz #7—Answers

John Dillinger (1903-1934)

A quiz on Chicago crime—

1.  In the early 20th Century, Death Corner was located at __________.

(B) Oak and Milton

2.  Richard Speck wore a tattoo that said __________.

(B) “Born To Raise Hell”

3.  What crime sent Al Capone to prison?

(B) income tax evasion

4.  Which of these people died of natural causes?

(B) Bugs Moran

5.  Why was Herman Webster Mudgett notorious?

(B) He was a serial killer at the time of the Columbian Exposition.