The Billy Goat Tavern & Grill in Chicago, IL
If you have followed my travels this past summer, you know I have been to Chicago a couple of times. On my first trip back, I came across the “Billy Goat Tavern” not really even knowing the diamond in the rough I had crossed paths with. I didn’t even BEGIN to know the amazing history behind this famous place until I sat with my Chicago hot dog and began to read the walls of lined history.
So let’s talk about how it got it’s name first. Apparently a German immigrant named William Sianis purchased the then “Lincoln Tavern” which was located across from the Chicago Stadium for $205 = sounds cheap but this was 1934. As the story goes, a billy goat roamed into the bar one day and decided to stay. William loved the idea so much that he was nicknamed for it, named his Tavern after it, and even began to grow a goatee to match his furry friend!
And then there’s the curse…and it’s way too long to explain, but much more to do with the goat. Check out their website to read more.
But it would reach its most infamous days when Saturday Night Live, in 1978, would do a sketch on the very Tavern that many of the Alumni would eat at during their Second City days in Chicago. Known for shouting out “Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger” for over 40 years, the sketch did right by the famous spot. Starring Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, John Belushi, and Loraine Newman, you can find the sketch now on YouTube- and the rest is history! They say that Bill Murray still stops in when in Chicago…can you imagine if he had been there? I would’ve honestly lost it.
I was impressed by the authenticity of the place, the diner feel, and the old fashioned diner prices. It wasn’t this huge spot, but this small, comfy and cozy place tucked under the bustling street of patrons. The staff was incredibly kind, and even though I didn’t have any alcohol, they had quite the selection of spirits to choose from behind the bar. While I ate, I looked around and imagined the SNL cast gathering here, before they were big stars, just having a bite to eat and enjoying each other’s company. So cool. If you can’t make it to Chicago, they have several other locations, including one in D.C.! The food was great, the place was even better, check them out!
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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!