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Chicago's Classic Restaurants: Past, Present, and Future

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With Neal Samors and Eric Bronksy as our guides, we explore Chicago’s classic restaurants from pre-1900 to the present, including classics like Henrici’s, Fritzel’s, Shangri-La, The Bakery, Le Perroquet, The Berghoff, The Pump Room, The Cape Cod Room, The Walnut Room, and Gordon among many others. After 1970, Richard Melman and Lawrence Levy introduced a new type of fun atmosphere to Chicago restaurants that ranged in form from R.J. Grunts, D.B. Kaplan, and Fritz That’s It! to Lawrence of Oregano and Jonathan Livingston Seafood. Then there were the more upscale, traditional, and classic restaurants that included Ambria and Le Francais, which preceded Everest, Tru, Trio, and Spiaggia. Chicago has traveled a long road to achieve its status with world-class restaurants that include Charlie Trotter’s, Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, Scott Harris’ Francesca restaurants and Davanti Enoteca, Boka, Perennial, Girl and the Goat, Blackbird, Avec, Hugo’s Frog Bar, and Grant Achatz’ Alinea and Next.

Neal Samors is a lifelong resident of Chicago who grew up on the city’s far North Side and developed a passion for the history, neighborhoods, and people of Chicago and its surrounding areas. His books reflect a continued commitment to tell the many stories about his hometown from its inception to the present.

Eric Bronsky, also a native Chicagoan, is a freelance writer, historian, photographer, and transit enthusiast. He has coauthored two award-winning books with Dr. Samors.

Recorded Saturday, February 4, 2012 at Kendall College.

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