On Monday, we asked readers to share with us their memories of Loop shops and restaurants that had closed. We expected a few. We got hundreds. Here are some of the best.
VILLA PARK -- The London House on the southwest corner of Michigan and Wacker was a destination for (what appeared to my teenage self) very sophisticated people. I was not old enough to order a drink when I went there during the late '60s, but I always thought that someday I would be able to dress up like the ladies I saw and sip a martini while listening to a jazz group. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to get downtown on a regular basis, the London House was no more.
-- Judy Pollack
CHICAGO -- I remember Mort's on Wabash Avenue. The best corned beef sandwiches. During the summer you would receive a free slice of watermelon, and in the winter you would receive a free cup of soup.
-- Theodore J. Kramer
CHICAGO -- Your list of former Loop restaurants brought back wonderful memories. Here are two more that I particularly miss:
The Epicurean (Hungarian) on South Wabash. Great goulash, stuffed cabbage and heavenly strudel.
Beyond Words Cafe on the 9th floor of the main library. So-so food in a spectacular and tranquil space.
-- Conrad Weisert
CHICAGO -- I myself work in the Loop and have a strong infatuation with its history. I moved here from Toledo, Ohio, more than a year ago. There are tons of great places to eat in the Loop; there are more than 180 unique restaurants and more than 300 locations. Check out www.lunchintheloop.com. It's a Chicago Web site geared toward all Loop fans.
-- Matt Hyman
CRETE -- I miss the following:
Little Heidelberg on State Street. Woolworth's for both the restaurant and bargain shopping. Wieboldt's for shopping. The Ranch for chili. Toys R Us for toys. Crows Nest for music. Mayors Row restaurant.
I have been working in the Loop over 20 years. I have enjoyed every minute. But I still wish all of the above were still around.
-- Joseph Panozzo
SKOKIE -- Does anyone else remember the frozen malted stand that was located in the very lowest level of the Mandel Brothers Department Store at State and Madison? As a youngster, I would visit with my mother, who was a Mandel Brothers employee. As a treat, she would let me buy a malt -- which would keep me busy (and quiet) for at least half an hour.
-- Barbara Fullone
GLENVIEW -- Mustn't overlook Reick's Boston baked beans served up in a small stone crock with pumpernickel bread and butter. You turned the crock over into a stone plate, and the beans, steaming hot in their juices, came pouring out as you salivated. All for 44 cents.
-- Jack M. Neistat
PRAIRIE VIEW -- In the '50s, no trip to Chicago would have been complete without at least one stop at the Wimpy the Glorified Hamburger outlet downtown. This was before the "fastfood" era, and these burgers were great.
-- Kent Lasik
CHICAGO -- Since the mid-1980s, the landscape of the Loop has changed fundamentally. There are now very few independent restaurants at street level; most were replaced with chains. What I miss most of all are the coffee shops along Jackson Street, especially Nick's Snacks where the owners and wait staff knew customers well enough to hand them their morning paper of choice as they entered the restaurant.
-- Mark Pascale
CHICAGO -- You were correct that the second floor bar at Binyon's on Plymouth Court was where defense attorneys and federal prosecutors met almost daily after court. The bartender, Tommy, was a legend.
-- Rich Jalovec
CHICAGO -- I miss Fritzel's (where Paul the maitre d' called me "Miss America" and Jimmy Durante commented on my long eyelashes) and the Blackhawk, where my brother, sister and I knew the entire Spinning Salad Bowl spiel by heart.
--Mary Anne Spinner
CHICAGO -- On North State was the Shangri-La, a Polynesian restaurant housed in a failed movie house. A staircase has been put in connecting main floor and balcony and the kitchen was where the stage had been. The gracious host and manager was Chase Gilmore. Although they served lots of rum drinks with paper umbrellas, the balcony bar specialized in brandy alexanders.
-- Robert R. Boyle
MT. PROSPECT -- In the late '50s before the days of branch banking, Mom and I rode the Howard Street "L" downtown every Friday to cash Dad's paycheck. With cash in hand our first stop was Harding's for the best lunch a kid could have: glorious mashed potatoes and gravy, heavenly macaroni and cheese, and fresh muffins.
-- Paula Winkler
INDIAN CREEK -- The first trip to the Loop by myself I headed for the Men's Grill. You picked up a ticket and went to one of the many stations for beef, corned beef or ham or chicken carved before your eyes and put on your choice of bread, with dill pickle. The carver punched the ticket. You moved on to the side dish line and the server punched the ticket there. On the way out you paid. Men stood along wall bars or sat and ate in their coats and fedoras, sharing tables. Still no women. It felt great to be an adult.
-- Paul D. Speer Jr.
UNAUTHORIZED LOOP: An insider's guide to the heart of Chicago For all stories, and a photo gallery, see chicagotribune.com/loop