Epic Anniversary Party and New Food Tour Recap

This past Saturday we had our 5-Year Anniversary Bash with the preview of our new Big Shoulders Historic Bar and Food Bus Tour. In short, it was epic. We started our new food tour and celebration with check-in at the historic Berghoff restaurant.

Kicking Off at the Berghoff

People mingled over drinks before we introduced the evening and shared some of the great beer history of the Berghoff. Above are Kate Joyce (left), photographer who took many of the beautiful tour photos that appear on our website, and Jenn Harrman (middle), our first full-time office manager who came into town from Nashville for the occasion. In the background on the left is Paul Durica of Pocket Guide to Hell.

chicago food tour berghoff

We were completely sold-out with our partners, associates, staff, private and public tour clients, and all our friends and family. For our new food-tour-meets-bar-tour, I was one tour guide and Elizabeth (pictured here) was the other. She is awesome.

Off to Bridgeport

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Then we loaded up our two 39-passenger busses. We talked about the South Side, Bridgeport, and saloon history on the way down to the neighborhood. The tour portion of the event included a cruise down Lituanica Street, once home to a big community of Lithuanians. We discussed of everyday architecture, like workers cottages and former groceries and taverns, and ran into to Bruno’s Bakery for some Lithuanian bread for everyone to taste.

food tour bar tour private party private groups south side chicago food tour

One bus had their drink stop at Schaller’s Pump, and the other inside Shinnick’s. These are bars where drinking anything but cheap beer just doesn’t make sense. UPDATE AS OF 5/8/17: THE FAMILY JUST PERMANENTLY CLOSED SCHALLER’S PUMP ON 4/30.

food tour bar tour private party private groups south side chicago food tour

Then we had our dinner stop at Johnny O’s. You have to go through the liquor store to get to his secret super-’70s bar that’s attached.

food tour bar tour private party private groups south side chicago food tour

Johnny, who manages his liquor store and hot dog stand with his sons, has had his establishment here since 1970. Back then Bridgeport was bustling with industry, when workers were frequenting the many taverns in the neighborhood. He got his hands on the Ramova Grill sign when it closed a few years ago, and there are some great news clippings from a pretty funny White Sox debacle that involved Mayor J. Daley (you’ll have to come on the tour to find out).

Food and Fun at Johnny O’s

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Blues musician Fruteland Jackson joined us, too. You may recognize him from our Jazz, Blues and Beyond Tour by Bus. He gets on board and teaches tour guests how to play blues harmonica.

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People ate their choice of Chicago hot dog or Mother-in-law sandwich. There was also a ton of french fries and fried veggies.

To the Stock Yards and Beyond!

After touring the area of Bridgeport where people lived, ate and drank, we went a little south of the neighborhood to the industrial area, once home to Spiegel’s and Wrigley’s. We also dug into some meatpacking history on the way to see the Union Stockyards Gate from 1865.

food tour bar tour private party private groups south side chicago food tourThe busses rolled through the Canaryville neighborhood on our way to a Gilded Age mansion in Bronzeville, which is the Welcome Inn Manor B&B. Here we had more food, beer, and a presentation before indulging in cake. Everyone found a party space, whether on the front stoop, in the many grand rooms of the mansion, or in the backyard, where we had a bonfire going.

Everyone was having such a good time that we have just about no photos of the afterparty at the mansion, or the “after-after party” in the Game Room of the new Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. If you have any photos to share, please send!

We received press from WGN Radio, Chicagoist, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. A thanks to all who hosted us, including the Berghoff Restaurant, Schaller’s Pump, Shinnick’s Pub, Johnny O’s, and Welcome Inn Manor.

And thank you to those who came to our 5-Year Bash and helped make it such a success. And also thanks to those who came in spirit. It was really a blast!

— Amanda Scotese, Executive Director

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Ellen

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There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

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With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.

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Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.

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Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

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I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
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