Posts Tagged Chicago Sun Times

Chicago Sun Times Columnist Bill Zwecker selects Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground as his Favorite Public Place in Chicago

The Chicago Sun Times and the Metropolitan Planning Council are holding a contest to find Chicago’s favorite public spaces ( To start the contest, the Sun Times asked several of its top columnists to select their favorite places. We were honored that Bill Zwecker picked Seneca Park and its Eli M. Schulman Playground as his favorite for its “calm amid hustle, bustle.”

Other favorite public places by the columnists were: Roger Ebert, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond; Paige Wiser, Connors Park; Mark Brown, Wrigley Field; Mike Mulligan, Macy’s at the Holidays; and Rick Telander, the Chicago River.

Zwecker picks Seneca Park/Eli M. Schulman Playground

Zwecker picks Seneca Park/Eli M. Schulman Playground

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Eli’s Cheesecake Festival Featured by Neil Steinberg in the Sun Times

September 19,


Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun Time Columnist

Not just plain or chocolate

Why, Margie Ware wanted to know, looking around the room with
the wide-eyed wonder that makes a good tour guide, why are the big bricks of
cream cheese coming into the Eli’s Cheesecake factory wrapped in BLUE plastic
wrap? Why isn’t it clear, like most plastic wrap?

Hands shot up.

To protect it from the light? Because it’s anti-bacterial?
Because blue keeps out the air better?

No, no, and no.

Margie waited until all the theories had been floated, and then
let loose with the forehead-slapping truth.

“We wrap the cream cheese in blue plastic,” she said, “so if any
plastic goes into the vat, we see it.”

Of course!

That’s why I love factory tours. They are little universities of
practical knowledge, in Eli’s case, the wisdom that comes from turning out up to
25,000 cheesecakes a day. Some aspects are vastly familiar –the cakes still go
into a 375-degree oven for 40 minutes, just like at home. And some are wildly
out of scale — the cakes are mixed in 500-pound batches in mixers 8 feet

To be honest, cheesecake never particularly floated my boat. But
the boys had a day off school, and I knew that the Eli’s factory,
just west of Wright College, is one of a dwindling number of area manufacturers
that still welcome their customers to take a peek. They also have an upscale
deli and a thrift shop bakery, where you can pick up imperfect cheesecakes for

The tour had quizzes and prizes and a film featuring, it seemed, every
celebrity to visit or taste an Eli’s cheesecake. In one corner, the original
Mixmaster where Eli Schulman began whipping up cheesecakes in his namesake
steakhouse stands unobtrusively.

His son, Marc Schulman, joined us for lunch — I don’t think he does that for
every visiting customer, but he just might. Cheesecake is a very serious thing
to him, his father’s legacy.

“His dream was this cheesecake,” said Schulman, who wears the Cartier
wristwatch that Frank Sinatra gave his father.

Eli’s 12th annual Cheesecake Festival takes place all day Saturday and
Sunday. The event includes music and demonstrations, such as Beth Nielsen, owner
of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, telling tales of “America’s favorite ingredient” and
showing how to prepare her Cherry Vanilla Chicken, or Diane Smith, of the
Michigan Apple Committee. The full schedule, which includes a classic car show,
is posted online. (www.eli There will be cheesecake and
lots of it.

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Groundhog Job Shadow Day at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences to recognize Dr. Carla Pugh of Northwestern University Medical School and Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Thank you Stella Foster of Stella’s Column in the Chicago Sun Times for recognizing our work supporting the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. Groundhog Job Shadow is one of the biggest activities of the year at CHSAS as it gives the junior and senior classes an opportunity to “shadow” a successful business person.

For 2008, we are so honored to have Dr. Carla Pugh of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School as our special guest for Groundhog Job Shadow Day. Dr. Pugh will be hosting students at her lab at Northwestern next Thursday and then will come out to the school to speak to the students on Tuesday, January 29th.

A recent study found that the number one career choice for young woman was being a doctor. Dr. Pugh has achieved great success as a surgeon, researcher and educator. It will be a great experience for students at CHSAS to hear her inspirational story and the great success that she has achieved through
hard and a commitment to education.

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Mark Brown in the Chicago Sun TImes Highlights Eli’s Associates Holiday Giving

Eli’s Christmas charity takes the cake

Employees get to deliver 2 cases of goodness to cause of
their choice


December 18, 2007

BY MARK BROWN Sun-Times Columnist

This is a good time of the year to know somebody who works for The Eli’s Cheesecake Company.

Come to think of it, it’s probably always good to know somebody at Eli’s. But right about now is especially good.

That’s because each of Eli’s 220 employees are given the opportunity during the holiday season to deliver two free cases of cheesecakes to the charitable cause of their choice.

As a result, dozens of local churches, schools, community and civic groups look forward each year to chowing down on this Chicago-made treat at their holiday events. Some aren’t above dropping little reminders.

“Around this time of year, they ask, ‘Are you going to bring the cake?’ ” laughs William Ferebee, 47, an Eli’s packaging foreman who takes his cheesecakes to Victory Outreach, a rehab home at 13th and Cicero where he volunteers his time. “Man, they really love the cake.”

Eli’s supports more than 600 organizations a year with product donations, but company president Marc Schulman said the holiday program is special because it allows his workers to decide for themselves who they want to support and to experience the gratification of making the delivery personally.

“My father always taught me that charity will never bust you,” said Schulman, referring to patriarch Eli Schulman, who started the family restaurant business in 1940, which veered into cheesecake manufacturing after his father’s recipe emerged as one of the hits of the first Taste of Chicago in 1980.

As some of you must have noticed from reading the papers through the years, the elder Schulman also taught his son plenty about the art of promotion, whether it was making cheesecakes available for the now trite bets between politicians over sports championships or feeding the President on Air Force

As best as I can remember, I have always resisted the Schulman siren song, but Marc Schulman discovered my weakness, and no, I’m not referring to the chocolate chip cheesecake. No, not the strawberry either.

Schulman got my attention by picking Southwest Chicago PADS to be the charity that would receive its own personal cheesecake shipment this year. The Marquette Park homeless shelter is run by Sister Therese DelGenio and her dedicated staff, and Schulman knows I like to write about their work.

So I surrendered to the Eli’s public relations machine, which is really just Schulman, and visited the company’s Northwest Side plant to meet some of the employees, who confirm that they look forward to being the bearer of such yummy tidings.

“It’s a great pleasure,” said Robert Henley, 45, a baker from Portage Park, who takes his cheesecakes to Sunday school students at the Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park.

Eleonor Laurea, 51, a North Sider who works in decorating, brings her cheesecakes to her Family Christian Fellowship, a predominately Filipino congregation, for its annual youth gift exchange and Christmas Eve dinner.

“When they saw the cakes, they are so excited,” Laurea said. “They ask, ‘Is there tiramisu?’ Most Filipinos love tiramisu.”

Workers get their fill

I learned, though, that Eli’s employees make a habit of supplying cheesecakes to family and friends year round.

Wendell Deeter, 42, of Albany Park, even finds them a valuable form of barter. Deeter, a mixer, said he once had no money to pay his mechanic, so he asked: “Would you accept a Peanut Butter Reese’s Cake instead?”

“Sounds good to me,” said the mechanic.

There’s a couple reasons Eli’s employees often have a cheesecake handy for such purposes. For one, they receive free cakes at all the big holidays as well as their birthdays, plus they get a 40 percent discount at the company store.

But just as important, after spending all that time making the cheesecakes, the Eli’s employees all told me the last thing they’d want to do is eat one themselves. That’s no reflection on the product, just the nature of the work.

Eli’s has carved out a deserved niche as a Chicago original with a family-owned business that makes a good product and provides much-needed manufacturing jobs. There’s no harm in reminding everyone of that.

“We’re a little guy in a world of giants,” Schulman says unapologetically for his promotional bent. “If you don’t tell your story, who will?”

Who indeed.

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Chiaroscuro Celebrates 20 years in Chicago–Now in Water Tower Place-Bill Zwecker of the Sun Times Recognizes Eli Schulman as the first customer on opening day and Marc Schulman the first customer 20 years later


October 19, 2007
Sun-Times Columnist




Here’s a nice touch:

The late great restaurateur and cheesecake king Eli Schulman was Peggy Wolf’s first customer when she opened Chiaroscuro, 700 N. Michigan. Now, as the store celebrates its 20th anniversary, in its new Water Tower Place home, Eli’s son, Marc Schulman, returned to be that location’s first shopper.


On the left, Peggy Wolf and Marc Schulman celebrate the opening of the new Chiaroscuo at Water Tower Place. On the right, Peggy Wolf and Ronna Isaacs get ready to open the door of their new flagship store.

One of my Eli’s most loyal lunch time customers was publicist Sherman Wolf. When Sherman’s wife, Peggy Wolf and Ronna Isaacs, opened Chiaroscuo 20 years ago, Eli made it a point to be their first customer.

Starting in a loft in River North and most recently at Chicago Place, Chiaroscuo has showcased the handcrafted work of artists and artisans while giving exceptional customer service.

On the 20th anniversary of the opening, Marc Schulman had the pleasure of being that first customer as they opened their flagship store in Water Tower.

The Eli’s Family wishes Peggy and Ronna another 20 years of succcess. They can walk out their door now and enjoy the Eli M. Schulman Playground at Seneca Park, an ongoing tribute to Eli’s.

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Eli’s Cheesecake Couture Collection Nominated for a Chicago Innovation Award


The Chicago Innovation Awards Debuted in 2002 as way to celebrate the creative spirit of the Chicago area. We are delighted that our Eli’s Couture Collection is among the 250 innovative products and services that were nominated.

The announcement of the winners of the 10 winners will be made in connection with the start of Innovation Week in Chicago in October. Chicago is a great City for entrepreneurs and it is great to share our creative ideas with the community.

A list of all nominees can be found in the Chicago Sun TImes, founding sponsor of the event, at,CST-FIN-cia-nomin17.article

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Chicago Sun Times Features Eli’s new Cheesecake Couture Line

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Chicago Sun Times highlights key facts for Chicago and L.A. as U.S. Olympic Bids are Considered: Eli’s Cheesecake one of Chicago’s signature foods v. tofu from L.A.

This Saturday the U.S. Olympic Committee will make the difficult choice between Chicago and Los Angeles to be the U.S. entry in the global competition to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. That decision for the host city will be made in 2009.

This week the Chicago Sun Times did a comparison of key facts in Chicago and L.A. These facts included population, landmarks, famous Chicagoans and signature foods. L.A. is best known for California style sushi, tofu. guacamole, fish tacos, chili dogs and chili-cheese burgers while Chicago is best known for deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, beef sandwiches, Cheezborger, Cheezborger and, happily, Eli’s Cheesecake.

We were delighted to provide a signature Eli’s dessert for the Olympic Gala in Chicago and look forward to the City’s bid being victorious on Saturday in Washington D.C. when the votes are cast.


Key facts: Chicago and.A.

April 11, 2007


POPULATION:2.84 million.

LANDMARKS: Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, Sears Tower (tallest building in North America), 3rd, 4th, 8th, 10th tallest buildings in North America, Soldier Field, Merchandise Mart, Wrigley Field, Lincoln Park, Millennium Park, McCormick Place, Museum of Science and Industry, The Second City, Magnificent Mile.

SIGNIFICANT HOSTING DUTIES:More presidential conventions than any other U.S. city, including the Republican National
Conventions of 1860 that nominated Abraham Lincoln and the riotous Democratic National Convention of 1968; 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition; World’s Fair, 1933; Kennedy-Nixon Debate, 1960; Major League Baseball’s first All-Star game, 1933; Black Sox Trial; Chicago Blues Festival.

FAMOUS CHICAGOANS:Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Studs Terkel, Scott Turow, Barack Obama, Buddy Guy, Jesse Jackson (Sr. and Jr.), Roger Ebert, Common, Mike Ditka, Sara Paretsky, Kanye West, Richard M. Daley, John and Joan Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Vince Vaughn.

SIGNATURE FOODS:Deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, beef sandwich, Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Eli’s Cheesecake.

SIGNATURE SONGS:“My Kind of Town (Chicago Is),” “Chicago (That Toddling Town),” “Sweet Home Chicago.”

NICKNAMES:City Of The Big Shoulders, Hog Butcher For The World, The City That Works, Windy City, Second City, City On The Make.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OLYMPIC BID:Athletes would compete at 25 venues in a games that would be situated mostly around the downtown lakefront and in nearby parks. The compactness of the games has organizers bragging that nearly 90 percent of athletes would be within 15 minutes of their competition venues.

Athletes would live in a $1.1 billion lakefront village that would be built above existing truck parking lots just south of downtown near the convention
center, which would host sports events.

An 80,000-seat, $366 million temporary Olympic stadium would be built in a historic South Side park.

Civic leaders have raised more than $32 million to help finance Chicago’s bid, and the City Council has backed a $500 million financial guarantee that
puts taxpayers on the hook if the games come to the city and lose money.



POPULATION:3.8 million; second-largest U.S. city.

LANDMARKS:Pacific Ocean, Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier, Malibu, Venice Beach, Disneyland, Hollywood Bowl, freeways, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (built for the 1932 Olympics), Union Bank building (tallest building west of the Mississippi River).

SIGNIFICANT HOSTING DUTIES:1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics; 1960 and 2000 Democratic National Conventions; Pope John Paul II’s 1987 visit; annual Academy Awards; annual New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Game and Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena; 1968, 1973, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1987 and 1993 Super Bowls.

CELEBRITY RESIDENTS:Britney Spears, Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Rodriguez, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jennifer Aniston, Frank
Gehry, Pamela Anderson, Bob Dylan, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Hilary Duff, George Carlin, Ice Cube, Jay Leno, Ray Bradbury, Tom Cruise, and, any day now, David Beckham and his wife, Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham.

SIGNATURE FOODS:California-styled sushi, tofu, guacamole, fish tacos, chili dogs and chili-cheese burgers.

SIGNATURE SONG:“I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman.

CELEBRITY CHEF: Wolfgang Puck, who’ll put just about anything tasty on pizza.

SUMMARY OF OLYMPIC BID:The competitions would be at more than 30 venues. Opening and closing ceremonies would be at Memorial Coliseum, built for the 1932 Games and used for the same ceremonies at the 1984 Olympics. Other venues would be located in Long Beach, Anaheim and Pasadena, as well Las Vegas and San Francisco.

The Coliseum would be remodeled, adding 204 luxury boxes and other modern amenities at an estimated cost of $112 million. The Home Depot Center in Carson, proposed site of archery, cycling, soccer and tennis, would be expanded. A shooting range would be constructed at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona.

Light rail lines would be extended to connect several Olympic venues. More than $1 billion is to be spent widening several key freeways.

The 1984 L.A. Olympics were the first to make a profit, and officials hope to duplicate that effort largely through corporate sponsorships as they did last
time. California has committed to subsidizing the games with as much as $250 million in taxpayer money if they fail to turn a profit.

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“Spirit of Taste Remains Alive and Well”–my letter to the Editor in the Chicago Sun Times today

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Lewis Lazare in the Chicago Sun Times highlights the introduction of Eli’s WildFlower Honey Bar at Starbucks made with honey from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences

Lewis Lazare


Honey of a deal for Eli’s, Starbucks and city school

Coffee giant Starbucks is teaming up with two local organizations, the Eli’s Cheesecake Co. and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, to bring local residents a new sweet called the Wildflower Honey Bar, which will be available for $2.25 in all area Starbucks outlets starting Wednesday.

The bar’s ingredients include a graham cracker crust, yellow cake, ricotta cheese, almonds and, most significantly, fresh honey from bee hives tended by students at the agricultural sciences school, the only one of its kind in the Chicago Public School system. The school was founded 21 years ago on farmland owned by the Chicago Public Schools in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the city’s Far Southwest side. Among the school’s many “firsts,” student Corey Flournoy became the first African American to be elected president of the 500,000-member Future Farmers of America in 1994.

Marc Schulman, president of Eli’s Cheesecake, said he has worked for several years with the agricultural school, and so the school was his first choice to provide the honey for the new bar that will be added to the lineup of desserts and bars Eli’s already provides to local Starbucks outlets.

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