Sepia Saturday

California Historical Society : Sepia Saturday Theme Image 418


Union Station,Chicago

There’s no dining room or lunch counter in the station anymore, but Union Station has remodeled some lounges to return their old glory.


The Berghoff Restaurant

This Chicago establishment is still in business, though on a smaller scale. I’ve been here a few times with my father. If you’re in the Loop, it’s worth a try.


Marshall Field’s Walnut Room, Gilded Age

Marshall Field’s department story was “the” Chicago place to shop. It’s where Harry Selfridge got his start and Field was a great innovator in retail and a real estate mogul. (For much of his career he was the richest man in Chicago. Books have been written about Marshall Fields’ professional and personal life. He’s been featured in some novels. In Prairie Avenue he’s represented by Mr. Kennerly.)

My grandmother would take my siblings and I to Marshall Fields for lunch and shopping. We’d either eat in the Walnut Room or the Narcissus Room, where I loved to watch the gold fish in the fountain. 


The fountain had goldfish

The menu’s highlights were it’s Field’s salad and hot fudge sundae, which what I’d still say is the best chocolate sauce ever.

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Did your grandparents take you to eat anywhere special?


13 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday

  1. We had a few favorite spots. A department store tea room and a restaurant my father went to every morning for coffee. He’d take my sister or myself once a month or so on a Saturday for a milkshake and “show us off” to his favorite waitresses. Amazing the Berghoff is still there.

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  2. I don’t remember anything as grand as those department stores even though my grandfather worked at Union Station in Washington DC. I do remember occasionally being taken to a White Castle chain diner/restaurant for a hamburger, back in the days when “fast-food” didn’t exist as instant drive-through gratification. Restaurant food once meant something special.

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  3. Some lovely restaurants. My grandparents never went out to eat, so no. But they fed me well! Lovingly prepared by hand and often grown in their garden.

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  4. I didn’t discover department store restaurants until an adult, I think. But my mom would take me and sis to Howard Johnsons every once in a while…loved the hot roast beef sandwich and hot fudge sundaes.

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    • I remember Howard Johnsons! That was a special treat for me too.

      Marshall Field’s was the first department store in Chicago (maybe the US) to include a restaurant. There were no decent places for women to eat on their own. One of the sales clerks started bringing pot pies to work and offered them to customers so they wouldn’t rush home to eat lunch. They’d stay and shop. Marshall Field realized how smart this was and added restaurants.


  5. I’ve been to a few fine restaurants over the years. Very special times and I’m happy to have had the lovely experiences. But the name Marshall Fields made me smile. Now-a-days, shopping in thrift shops is quite the acceptable thing to do. But when I was growing up, it was too close, yet, to the depression, and you didn’t really want folks to know you were wearing something purchased at a thrift shop. So when we bought something at the Goodwill store, for instance, Mom told us if anyone asked where it came from we should tell them it came from Marshall Goodwins and you’d be surprised at how many people would nod and say “Oh.” with an impressed expression. Too funny! 🙂

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  6. I used to like eating breakfast in Union Station. I also remember eating by the Marshall Field’s Christmas Tree when I was younger.


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