The Berghoff Restaurant

17 W Adams St Chicago

German Art, Architecture & History/The Berghoff Restaurant
Chicago Scene
Written By Chicago Scene

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The first version of the Berghoff was a brewery in Indiana, opened after Herman Berghoff, a German immigrant, had a few stints working in cotton and sugar fields. He then spent some time in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show but after the 1893 World’s Fair, Berghoff realized the potential of Chicago and moved the business there in 1898.

After the start of Prohibition, Berghoff began brewing near-beers and sodas, alongside expanding the food service. Berghoff soon became famous for the authentic German food he offered. The Berghoff restaurant also got the city’s first liquor license—which is still on display within the bar—after Prohibition ended. The bar served only men until 1969, when Gloria Steinem and other members of the National Women’s Organization made demands that women be served. The Berghoff Cafe, an annex under the restaurant, was added in 1939.

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In 2006, the whole business closed as ownership switched between generations of the Berghoff family. A year later, though, all three parts of the business—cafe, bar, and restaurant—opened again, in the same space they had previously occupied.

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