Posts Tagged Eli M. Schulman

Tribute To Eli M. Schulman and the Soldiers of World War II on the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

It was 70 years this week on December 7th, 1941 that America suffered its “Day of Infamy” with the Pearl Harbor invasion and the entry of the US into World War II. Over the next five years, over 16 million American men and women served our country including our founder, Eli M. Schulman. The menu above is from Eli Schulman’s “Victory Dinner” on May 18th, 1942 when he joined the US Army Air Corp.


Eli Schulman had opened Eli’s Ogden Huddle in 1940 and was called upon to use his foodservice experience to operate a series of PX’s for Army Air Corp in Texas, Colorado and Utah rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Being a member of the Army Air Corp, Eli on the right was a part of the team providing support for the B-17 and B-24 Bombers that has such an important role in bringing World War II to an end.

Eli Schulman (on the right) was the host for Actress Ann Sothern when she visited the Army Air Base in Salt Lake City. Considered one of the most beautiful actresses her time, Sothern was at the top of her appeal in World War II appearing in a series of films and radio shows starring her as “Maisie,” a brassy Brooklyn burlesque dancer.

Eli’s Cheesecake history of creating specialty big cakes dates back to Eli Schulman’s days in the Army Air Corp in World War II. Eli, on the left, approves of the cake baked in his kitchen.



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Magnificent Mile & Streeterville Community Celebrate the Lighting of Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground for the Holiday Season

On Thursday evening, key members of our Magnificent Mile and Streeterville Community came together at Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground at dusk for the lighting of Park. It was one year before the  Magnificent Mile Lights Festival started in 1991 that the then newly reconstructed Seneca Park & the then new Eli’ M. Schulman Playground was lit for the first time. The lighting is 100% privately funded and would not be possible without the support of the neighbors and friends to the Park.

We extend our deepest thanks to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the American Dental Association, the Lookingglass Theatre, the Ritz Carlton Hotel, American Girl Place and Philip Corboy and Mary Dempsey for their generous support.

We also thank the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association and the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents who work together to make our neighborhood a wonderful place to live, work and visit.

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When the Eli M. Schulman Playground was dedicated in 1988 and fund raising efforts began to reconstruct Seneca Park and build the Playground, it would be hard to believe that the future neighbors of the Park would include Prentice Woman’s Hospital, Children”s Memorial Hospital and the yet to be founded American Girl Place. We have been so fortunate to have these new neighbors all dedicated to serving children and families as well as the long term support of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the American Dental Association  and so many other neighbors. For the third consecutive year, the Friends of Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground gathered to light the Park for the holiday season.

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The relationship of Eli’s and the Schulman Family dates back to 1966 when Eli’s the Place for Steak opened in the Carriage House, a luxury apartment hotel located just east of what was then Wesley Memorial Hospital. A few years later Northwestern Memorial bought the Carriage House and converted it to residences for nurses and house staff. Today, Eli’s the Place for Steak and the Carriage House are gone replaced by the new home of Children’s Memorial Hospital and Wesley has been replaced by the new home of Prentice Woman’s Hospital but the partnership of Elis & Northwestern Memorial continues. The lighting of Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground would not be possible without the organization and staff of Northwestern. Above, Dr. Michael Ruchim, Dennis Murphy, Rob Christie, Ralph Weber and Dean Harrison celebrate the opening with Eli’s Marc Schulman.

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Dr. Michael Ruchim and Ralph Weber of Northwestern Memorial with Eli’s Maureen and Marc Schulman. Ralph  Weber, with 30 years at Northwestern and as a former Chairman of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association has been a leader in the community and in the maintenance and enhancements to the Park.

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Maureen and Marc Schulman enjoy the very special day when the lights go on at Seneca Park & Eli’s Playground.

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Eli’s Marc Schulman thanks community leader and neighbor Sally Park for authoring a poem in honor of the lighting of the Park.

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Eli’s Marc Schulman with Dr. Michael Ruchim at Engine Company 98 of the Chicago Fire Department which is directly west of the Playground. For over 100 years, Engine Company 98 has protected the Magnificent Mile and Streeterville Community. In fact the Fire House predates both.

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Miguel Juarez Middle School Students “Spruce Up” Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground

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On Saturday, April 10th, Eli’s Cheesecake welcomed students from the Miguel Juarez Middle School of Waukegan for a day of “sprucing up” Seneca Park & The Eli M. Schulman Playground. This partnership that came about four years ago because of the interest of Ray Arceo, teacher at Juarez and husband of Eli’s Erin Arceo, and has grown each year. This day would not be possible without the support of Captain Bill Madden and historic Engine Company 98 of the Chicago Fire Department which hosts a continental breakfast provided by Eli’s on the students arrival. We also thank the Chicago Park District for their support in providing supplies and other resources for the Spruce-Up.

Our thanks to Mr. Arceo and his fellow teachers at Miguesl Juarez Middle School,  Ms. Lazar, Mr. Truby, Ms. Harris and Ms. Savino as well as the 48 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who gave up their Saturday to clean up the Park and Playground. Also thanks to  Eli’s Erin Arceo, Donna Carberry, Jeff Klegerman for their support throughout the day as well as  Eli’s Chef’s Antonio and Melissa for preparing lunch for the students and Eli’s Bakery Cafe Staff and Pastry Chef Alicia for preparing Eli’s Cheesecake’s for each of the students to customize and decorate to take home.

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After cleaning up the Park, the Juarez students came out to Eli’s for lunch and to decorate Eli’s Cheesecake’s to take home. A most successful day of Community Service. Eli’s thanks the students and staff of Miguel Juarez Middle School for giving up a day to beautify a special part of Chicago.

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2010 Earth Day-Eli’s Playground Clean Up with Miguel Juarez School is Tomorrow!

Eli’s Playground clean up with Miguel Juarez School is part of the Learn & Serve Initiative started by Governor Quinn. The tradition started in the 1990′s when the city of Chicago celebrated the opening of the Eli M. Schulman Playground and the reconstruction of Seneca Park. Come and visit!
228 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, Illinois

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WGN Morning News Blog Recognizes the Celebration of the 100th Birthday of our Founder, Eli M. Schulman

WGN Morning Blog

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Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground lit for the Holidays!

It was in May of 1990 that Chicago celebrated the opening of the Eli M. Schulman Playground and the reconstruction of Seneca Park. That project was due to the dedication of a number of volunteers and funders who worked together to create a very special place for children and families across from Eli’s the Place for Steak and  east of Engine Company 98 and the Historic Water Tower. It was the perfect tribute to our founder, Eli M. Schulman, who watched over the Park for over twenty years.

Today, Eli’s the Place for Steak has been gone for over 4 years as Eli’s site is going to be the new home of Children’s Memorial Hospital.  New neighbors since the dedication in 1990 are American Girl Place, now in Water Tower with windows overlooking the Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Prentice Woman’s Hospital–a very special place for children.

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Thanks to Donnley Phillips and the Facilities Team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for their work in preparing Seneca Park for the lighting of the trees. This was a community effort that was led by Ralph Weber, Vice President of Community Affairs for Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

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The lighting of Seneca Park and the Eli M. Schulman Playground was a community project. Contributing to the lighting, which was 100% paid privately, was Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Eli’s Cheescake, Children’s Memorial Hospital , American Girl Place, the Ritz Carlton, the Lookingglass Theatre, the Museum of Centemporary Art, the American Dental Association, Engine Company 98 of the Chicago Fire Department and the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.

Northwestern Leadership

Joining  Eli’s Marc Schulman and Northwestern Memorial’s Ralph Weber for the lighting of the trees at Seneca Park was Dennis Murphy of Northwestern, Peter Simoncelli,  Chairman of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, Dr. Michael Ruchim of Northwestern, John Chikow, the President and CEO of GNMAA,  Patrick  Ghielmetti, Regional Vice President for the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons Hotels and  Rouhy Shalabi, attorney and Chicago Park District Commissioner.

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Eli’s Marc Schulman Tell the “Eli’s Story” at the Glenview Public Library

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On Tuesday, November 3rd, Marc Schulman, President and Son of Eli’s Cheesecake Founder, Eli  M. Schulman, had the opportunity to speak at the Glenview Public Library to tell the story of his parents, Eli and Esther Schulman, the restaurants that Eli operated dating back to 1940 and the growth of Eli’s Cheesecake. To make the evening even sweeter, Eli’s provided samples of  its Couture Cheesecake for the audience.

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Eli’s will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Eli’s Birth in January of 2010,  Above is a picture of Eli taken in the 30′s.

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Eli opened his first restaurant, Eli’s Ogden Huddle, in 1940 on Chicago’s northwest side. One year later Eli joined the Army Air Corps and served with distinction achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant.

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Eli was proud of his role in Illinois Politics. He was on the Ballot in 1948 with Adlai Stevenson as a State Central Committeeman. Eli’s the Place for Steak and Eli’s Stage Delicatessen were gathering places for politicians of all parties.

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A special guest at the program was Pat Peterson, distinguished retired teacher at the Latin School of Chicago and the teacher for Kori Schulman, Eli’s grand daughter.

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Todor Krecu has been one of Eli’s greatest boosters. We were delighted that he and his daughter attended the presentation.

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Eli’s Marc Schulman and Bob Mann thank Jennifer Black of the Glenview Public Library for hosting such a great event.

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Congratulations to Author Irving Cutler on the Publication of “Chicago’s Jewish West Side” Profiling our Founder, Eli M. Schulman

Author and historian, Irving Cutler, a long time resident of Lawndale, is well known for his  bus tours of Jewish Chicago which includes a visit to Manny’s, Maxwell Street, the South Water Market and Eli’s Cheesecake World. The author of two books on the history of Jewish Chicago; he has now added “Chicago’s Jewish West Side” which profiles many great Chicagoans, including our founder, Eli M. Schulman. Eli’s first restaurant was the Ogden Huddle at the corner of Ogden & Kedzie in Lawndale.

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Description by the Publisher:

For nearly half a century, the greater Lawndale area was the vibrant, spirited center of Jewish life in Chicago. It contained almost 40 percent of the city’s entire Jewish population with over 70 synagogues and numerous active Jewish organizations and institutions, such as the Jewish People’s Institute, the Hebrew Theological College, and Mount Sinai Hospital. Its residents included “King of Swing” Benny Goodman, Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, journalists Irv Kupcinet and Meyer Levin, federal judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, civil rights attorney Elmer Gertz, Eli’s Cheesecake founder Eli Schulman, and comedian Shelley Berman. Many of the selected images come from the author’s extensive collection. This book will bring back memories for those who lived there and retell the story of Jewish life on the West Side for those who did not. No matter where the scattered Jews of Chicago live now, many can trace their roots to this “Jerusalem of Chicago.”

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Eli’s Cheesecake Mourns the passing of Esther Schulman, our Chairman, the wife of our Founder, Eli M. Schulman and Mother of our President, Marc Schulman.

21 years ago, Rick Kogan wrote my dad Eli’s obituary for the Tribune. It was very sad but fitting that he wrote the piece below that appeared in the Tribune today. My mom loved Eli’s – her restaurant and her cheesecake! My mom celebrated many special events with us as we dedicated Eli’s Playground, opened this Bakery and walking out of Eli’s the Place for Steak as Hal played on July 30th, 2005.

My mom loved celebrating her birthday’s here and seeing “her boys” from the restaurant.

This is a very sad time for me and my family but the love and affection expressed by so many people has made the pain far less. The ultimate tribute to my mom is what Eli’s achieves in the future—our charity, our compassion, our innovation and success.

Thank you all for giving me the time to mourn and be with family and to take time off from the job that I love.




Esther N. Schulman, 1918-2009: Dynamic businesswoman played key role in husband Eli’s restaurant, cheesecake business

Helped husband draw politicians, stars to restaurant

By Rick Kogan Tribune reporter

September 2, 2009


As comfortable with celebrities and politicians as with her own grandchildren, Esther N. Schulman proved a dynamic businesswoman after the 1988 death of her husband, Eli Schulman, of restaurant and cheesecake fame.

Mrs. Schulman, 91, died Monday, Aug. 31, in her Chicago home after a long illness.

“Long before there was something called the ‘working mom,’ she was the working mom,” said her son, Marc, president and CEO of Eli’s Cheesecake Chicago. “She was mostly behind the scenes, working in the office all day, when she wasn’t focused on taking care of me. After my father died, she really took over all things at the restaurant and became the face of Eli’s. She did so with grace and enthusiasm.”

The daughter of Isadore and Sadie Nettis, she was raised on the city’s West Side, graduated from Marshall High School in 1936 and, while studying accounting at night, went to work at her father’s business, the California Ale & Beverage Co. in Chicago.

Shortly after the end of World War II, she was introduced by mutual friends to an older neighborhood resident, Eli Schulman, fresh from Army service as a mess sergeant. They married in 1948 in Chicago and together opened a grill at Sheridan Road and Argyle Street.

Her husband was a gregarious host and something of a risk taker. In 1962, he decided to open Eli’s Stage Delicatessen on Oak Street, in the competitive Rush Street night-life area.

It quickly became a draw for singles, the Gold Coast set and many stars of the era (Woody Allen, Bobby Short, Barbra Streisand and Shecky Greene among them), who would drop by for late-night suppers after performing at Mister Kelly’s and other nearby clubs.

In 1966, Eli and Esther opened Eli’s the Place for Steak in what was then a luxury hotel called the Carriage House on Chicago Avenue.

“I always wanted to be something more than ‘a salami surgeon.’… I wanted a white-tablecloth place,” Eli Schulman said before his death.

That’s what Eli’s was, a stylish and sophisticated restaurant that quickly became a gathering place for luminaries from the worlds of sports, show business and politics, especially politics, drawn as much by the food as by the personality of the owner and his wife.

The Schulmans took a special liking to a young federal attorney named Jim Thompson, even printing and distributing buttons that said, “Big Jim Can Get the Job Done.”

“Eli is the man more responsible than any other for convincing me that I could be governor of this state,” Thompson said at Eli Schulman’s 76th birthday.

There was a family touch to some items on the menu, which featured calves liver Eli, chopped steak Esther and shrimp a la Marc. The most renowned item was the cheesecake, which became so popular that he started selling it to grocery stores in the early 1980s.

Today Eli’s Cheesecake Chicago operates out of a Northwest Side factory, which bakes more than 18,000 cheesecakes and desserts daily for sale throughout the country and internationally.

After her husband’s death in 1988 and until the restaurant closed in 2005 to make room for the new home of Children’s Memorial Hospital, Mrs. Schulman took a more prominent role. She worked in the office during the days and in the dining room at night, charming a wide variety of guests, from tourists to President Bill Clinton and Frank Sinatra.

She was also involved in the fundraising efforts to rebuild Seneca Park and create the Eli M. Schulman Playground, both directly across Chicago Avenue from the site of Eli’s.

In her later years, Mrs. Schulman enjoyed spending afternoons in the park, watching children play. She also supported hundreds of local civic and charitable groups with donations of desserts and money.

Mrs. Schulman is also survived by three granddaughters.

A funeral will be held at noon Thursday in Memorial Park Mausoleum Chapel, 9900 N. Gross Point Rd., Skokie.

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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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