Posts Tagged Eli Schulman

The Eli’s Family Mourns the loss of our Dearest Friend – Bobby Hatoff, the Chairman of Allen Brothers Meats

Without Bobby Hatoff, there would be no Eli’s!

The dearest friend to Eli, the Schulman Family and the entire Eli’s Family, Bobby started doing business with Eli at Eli’s Stage Delicatessen on Oak Street in the early 1960’s. That business relationship  grew dramatically when my parents opened Eli’s the Place for Steak in 1966 on East Chicago Avenue.  When he walked through Eli’s the Place for Steak (and so many other top restaurants in Chicago), he always had kind words for the wait and kitchen staff asking about their children by name.  He was always the most generous tipper while giving so much more from his heart.


Eli’s was the first of a new generation of steakhouses which have changed the dining experience in America. Bobby was a “secret weapon” for Eli’s and so many restaurants and leading chains around the country. He knew meat so well and how an operator could maximize the customer experience while helping the operator be profitable.


When Eli passed away over 24 years ago, Bobby was there all that day and for every day after that for me. He was my Senior Advisor  giving great advice on sales, on management, on life and people.  He was never too busy to help. No one was more committed to the success of Eli’s as a Company and my personal success than Bobby. When there were challenges in business, it was time for dinner with Bobby at Filippo’s on Clybourn. By the time the evening was over, I felt much better as Bobby’s advice was always right on and gave me the energy that I needed to meet the challenges of the next day.


Bobby is irreplaceable!  We could not have gotten here without him and will commit to always leading our lives with his integrity, optimism and charity.   Bobby, we miss you so much!


Marc S. Schulman


The Eli’s Cheesecake Company


Tags: , , ,

From The Eli’s Archives–Eli Schulman featured in a print ad for Cambridge Coffee in the mid 1960′s

For two years, from 1966 to 1968, when a fire closed Eli’s Stage Delicatessen, our founder, Eli Schulman, operated both Eli’s the Place for steak and Eli’s Stage Delicatessen.

Cambridge Coffee was a leading supplier of coffee to restaurants and was owned by Leon and Joe Katz. The Cambridge Coffee facility was on Halsted at the Bridge to Goose Island across from the Montgomery Ward Warehouse.

This ad for Cambridge Coffee telling Eli’s Story ran during that two year period.

Copy reads as follows:

Superb dining–with coffee to match!

“Eli’s the Place for Steak” in the Carriage House at 215 E. Chicago Avenue, has captured the fancy of discerning diners with its friendly warmth and cozy plushiness. Restaurateur Eli Schulman creates his own specialty recipes and supervises every facet of the unobtrusive service that makes dining a pleasant and memorable experience. Eli’s is also a rendezvous for celebrities of Stage, Screen and Television.

It goes without saying that coffee is in rich harmony with the elegant food. Mr. Schulman relies on distinctive Cambridge Coffee, not only here, but at his noted Eli’s Stage Delicatessen on Oak Street.

Cambridge Coffee helps build food service reputations.


Tags: , , , ,

“If You Are Hungry and Have No Money, Come In and We Will Feed You Free;” a sign Eli placed in his window in 1940–a spirit of community giving that continues today at Eli’s

My dad always told me that “charity will never bust you” and
about a sign that he had placed in the window of the Ogden Huddle when he opened
in 1940 offering to feed the hungry for free.

In these challenging economic times, it made me feel very good
to come upon this news paper clip from the Herzl LIGHT. 1948, Herzl Junior
College (now Malcolm X in what is now the City Colleges of Chicago system) was
located just blocks from Eli’s Ogden Huddle on Chicago’s West side. A reporter
from the Herzl LIGHT, Richard C. Blank set out to test the sign to see if Eli’s
would in fact feed him for free. As noted in the article below from the LIGHT,
Blank came into the Huddle as a “humble and low spirited person” seeking a free
meal. My uncle and Eli’s brother, Nate Schulman, greeted him and immediately had
him served dinner.

The article continues that “playing the part of the ‘good
Samaritan is an old story with the Schulman’s.” (Eli, Nate and Bertha). “Eli
started the business eight years ago..and uses the previously mentioned sign
because someone gave him a helping hand when he was hungry and without

The article lists “examples of the different people who have
shared the Schulman hospitality:”

1. An elderly man said he didn’t have the money for a cup of
coffee. He got his coffee and a donut too. A few days later, he returned, and
not only cleared his debt, but paid twice as much.

2. A little old lady comes into the Huddle everyday and Nate
feeds her free because she doesn’t make enough money to live on.

3. Some time ago, a mongrel dog was in front of the store
counter. It was so hungry so Nate fed it. The next day another pooch appeared
and he fed it too!

“When people come in for a free meal and ask what they can do to
earn it it, Nate says “Northing.” He admires that kind of spirit but it would
force him to think up more jobs than the W.P.A. had in the leaf raking

That article was written 60 years ago this year. We are very
happy that our tradition of feeding the hungry continues with our commitment to
the Greater Chicago Food Depository at the Eli’s Cheesecake Festival and the
upcoming Magnificent Mile Lights Festival as well as our Eli’s Giving Back
Program, whereby our associates are invited and encouraged to personally deliver
Eli’s Cheesecakes to a worthy organization of their choice.

Tags: , , ,

First Taste of Chicago–July 4th, 1980 on Michigan Avenue

We always tell the story of how my dad, Eli M. Schulman, took his signature cheesecake from Eli’s the Place for Steak to that first Taste of Chicago on July 4, 1980 on North Michigan Avenue—the only year that the Taste was on Michigan Avenue.

Here are photos of our booth at that first Taste. The three flavors of my dad’s cheesecake making their public debut: Chocolate Chip, Plain and Raisin Cinnamon all for $1.50 per slice. Today we offer our Taste Portion of Original Cheesecake at that same price–28 years later!

Tags: , , , , ,

My Dad, Eli M. Schulman, on the Illinois Democratic Primary Ballot in April of 1948

The United States Presidential election of 1948 is considered by many historians as the greatest election upset in American history. The Chicago Tribune was so sure of Republican Thomas Dewey defeating then President Harry Truman that it went to press with the cover held up the next day by the victorious Truman.

The Illinois primary for the November general election was held on April 13, 1948. It was a very important Democratic
primary as it marked the selection of Paul H. Douglas to run for US Senate and Adlai Stevenson to run for Illinois Governor. Douglas and and Stevenson went on to have a major effect on Illinois and national politics.

We are very proud that my dad, and our founder, Eli Schulman, was also on that ballot as a member of the 19th District
Senatorial Committee. Eli loved being a great host and loved talking politics for over 50 years. It didn’t matter what the political affiliation; Eli’s was a place where all were welcome.

Tags: , , , , ,

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley Visits Eli’s Cheesecake at the National Restaurant Association Show

My Dad, Eli Schulman, had several core values that he reinforced over the years.

On our menu at Eli’s the Place for Steak, the menu read “we shall serve good food, at a profit if we can, at a loss, if we must, but always good food.” This was a real testament to his life long commitment to quality.

Next, “charity will never bust you,” which we have continued by giving our time, cheesecake and money to support so many worthwhile causes.

The third, “Chicago, we are glad you are here,” was part of his life long devotion to serving guests and to making sure that diners at Eli’s the Place for Steak. It was for that reason that it was so great to have Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley visit the Eli’s Cheesecake Booth during the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. Mayor Daley is Chicago’s Number On Booster and was the person responsible for keeping the NRA Show in Chicago for many years to come.

Tags: , , , , ,

Tribute to Eli on his birthday!

January 22nd is my father’s birth date—as celebrated at Eli’s all week and as noted on the City of Chicago 2007 birthday calendar.

What a great day this Monday is for Chicago as we celebrate the Bears win in the NFC Championship and we prepare for the Super Bowl. All the snow and Bears weather of Sunday is gone as today is a pretty Sunday in January.


Eli and a very special “Motley Chicago Bear” at the piano bar at Eli’s the Place for Steak–with the helping hand of Hal Roach.

Mike and Diana Ditka came to celebrate with Eli at Eli’s the Place for Steak on Sunday, January 12th, 1986 after the Bears beat the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 24 to 0. It was two weeks later on January 26th that the Bears and Ditka beat the Saints by a score of 46 to 10

One of Eli’s dearest friends was Gale Sayers, the legendary half back for the Bears. When a Chicago Boys & Girl Club was in danger of closing, Eli put together a benefit on a week’s notice to keep the Club open.

Monday Night Football on ABC made its debut in 1970 when the Cleveland Browns played the New York Jets. From that first broadcast until 1984, Howard Cosell was the distinctive voice of Monday Night Football. Here Cosell visits with Eli and Esther Schulman at Eli’s the Place for Steak.

From 1975 to 1987, Walter Payton rushed for 16,726 yards setting the Bears all time record. Here Payton poses with Eli and his fellow board members of McCormick Place for the dedication of the George Halas Hall at McCormick Place.

Tags: , , , , ,

Marc Schulman Named as the Info Junkie of the Week by Crain’s Chicago Business

Since its first issue in 1978, Crain’s Chicago Business has been the “must read” paper for the business community in Chicago.

For me, Crain’s has been a vital part of my career, first in law, and then in business. It was Crain’s (and then young reporter, David Snyder), who wrote the first major business article about Eli and his growing
cheesecake business in 1987. Two years later in 1989, it was an honor for Crain’s to include me in the inaugural class of “40 Under 40″ class with distinguished Chicagoans including Oprah Winfrey and John Rogers. Since then we have created many special birthday cakes for Crain’s as we celebrate the accomplishments of this vital Chicago institution.

This week Crain’s covered me for what I like to do best—read. I was selected for the weekly “Info Junkie” column with the perfect sub-title “Voracious Reader.” I was always taught that “readers are leaders” and the advent of the internet gives us all the freedom to travel around the world with information.

Info Junkie: Voracious reader

Photo: Erik Unger

Marc S. Schulman, 51, president of Eli’s Cheesecake Co. and its resident logger, is a compulsive reader who
digitally scans clips, gives old magazines to fellow airplane passengers and ships boxes of periodicals ahead for vacations. Faves:

Foodie pubs like Saveur and Bon Appetit give a taste for trends. Hot now: artisanal production and the slow food movement. Among 20-plus trade subscriptions: Nation’s Restaurant News and Milling & Baking News. “I like tracking businesses, going back five years later and seeing where they are.”

Tunes to WBEZ-FM for public radio’s “Marketplace” and “Weekend Edition Saturday.” “Scott Simon’s a Chicagoan. I have a lot of respect for him.”

“The Ice Cream Maker: An Inspiring Tale about Making Quality the Key Ingredient in Everything You Do,” a business novella by Subir Chowdhury, is simple but effective. “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More” by Chris Anderson dissects how the Internet has created a popular culture of infinite offerings. “We always say it’s much better to be big than small, but the fact is that everything is about niche markets.”

Time Out Chicago and Chicago magazines give the scoop on local entertainment, trends and real estate. Craig
Dellimore, host of WBBM-AM’s “At Issue,” “does a good job with local political candidates.”

“Succeeding Against the Odds” by John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publishing Co., is a favorite local success story. “He did it all. He was the consummate entrepreneur.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Bears Win! Chicago Bears Football plays a very important role in Eli’s History

The Chicago Bears have played an important role in Eli’s history. My dad, Eli Schulman, was 10 years old when George Halas founded the Decatur Staley’s and then brought them to Chicago as the Bears. Over the 86 years since then, we have watched the Bears bring so much excitement to Chicago.

George Halas was a regular customer of Eli’s and a dear friend to Eli’s. Ed McCaskey, the Chairman of the Bears and the husband of Virginia McCaskey, was a regular lunch guest at Eli’s and would regale Eli, Howard Bedno, Steve Neal and other guests with his stories of service in World War II and his singing career during the big band era. When George Halas Jr. tragically died in 1979, Eli closed Eli’s the Place for Steak for the night to host a private dinner for all of the owners in the NFL.

Through Ed McCaskey, Eli befriended a young Bears Running Back by the name of Brian Piccolo. These were very exciting time for the Bears as the combination of Gale Sayers and Piccolo were on and off the football field. It was Eli and Ed McCaskey that made a special trip to New York to Sloan- Kettering to bring cheer to Brian Piccolo during his valliant fight against lung cancer.

Over all these years, Eli was busy every Sunday delivering corn beef sandwiches to the famed radio broadcasting team of Jack Brickhouse and Irv Kupcinet. From 1953 until 1976, Brick and Kup were the voice of the Bears and Eli hand cut and hand delivered the sandwiches to the game.

With all these ties, it is no coincidence that one of the most famous events for Eli’s Cheesecake came in January of 1986 when the Bears went to New Orleans to play the New England Patriots. Then Mayor Harold Washington went on national television to announce the Chicago delicacies that he brought to New Orleans, first and foremost, Eli’s Cheesecake.

We congratulate the Bears Team of 2006-2007 for their 13-3 regular season and win on Sunday over the Seattle Seahawks with a score of 27 to 24. This was the Bears first playoff victory since 1994 and sets up a great game this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints for the NFC Championship.

It was only a few months ago that we celebrated the first snow ball throw of the season with Rex Grossman and Starbucks. Well, Rex proved his football throwing ability on Sunday with 282 yard in the air including the clutch 30 yard pass to Rashied Davis in overtime that set up Robbie Gould’s 49 yard field goal for the win.

Chicago and Eli’s will be Bear Crazy this week!

A great day of celebration for the Bears and Chicago!

Tags: , , , ,

Eli’s Roots in Serving Restaurants

This Thursday I will be in Phoenix speaking at the Stagnito Top Gun Executive Food & Beverage Forum. It is a great opportunity to learn from other industry leaders on the constantly changing marketplace and to get ideas
on how to continue to build our business.

My topic is “Targeting Foodservice.” The invitation came about in May after Harry Stagnito, the CEO and Founder of Stagnito Publishing visited our booth at McCormick Place during the NRA Show. Among the hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees, Harry saw the quality of our products and our ability to tell our story to the trade as well as to our customers and fans.

My dad and our founder, Eli Schulman, would be very proud of that invitation as the NRA Show and McCormick Place were so important to him. For a number of years, Eli served as an appointee of Governor James R. Thompson
to the McCormick Place Board. As a person who was so committed to the convention and visitor industry, Eli wanted every visitor to McCormick Place to have a great experience. Below is a photo from May of 1981 showing Eli helping cut the ribbon to open the NRA Show that year.

You can imagine Eli’s pride in 1985 when his cheesecake had grown enough to take it to this most important national show for the foodservice industry. We have been in the NRA Show every year since… and we are delighted
that the show will be staying in Chicago.


Tags: , , , , ,