Posts Tagged Eli Schulman

1985–Taste of Chicago Over the Years–from the archives

It was in June of 1985 that Eli’s Cheesecake became the first non-beer sponsor of the Taste of Chicago. We partnered with Kraft’sPhiladelphia Brand Cream Cheese to sponsor “Dancing Under the Stars” on the stage of the
Petrillo Band Shell.

What could be more perfect to introduce the evening than Eli dancing with Ms. Philly (check out the shoes). One thing about my dad was that he was always willing to do fun things to promote his brand and he was a tireless advocate of our customers; a trait we are very proud to continue to this date.



















My mom, Esther Schulman, and me with my dad, Eli getting ready for “Dancing Under the Stars.”

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Tribute to George W. Dunne, President of the Cook County Board and dear friend of Eli’s


From the first week that Eli’s the Place for Steak opened on Chicago Avenue in 1966, there was a standing date for table 31 at 8pm on Monday nights. The picture above from the early days shows the special guests that made
Eli’s their dinner destination after office hours at the 42nd Ward Office; it was Cook County Board President and Ward Committeeman, George W. Dunne, pictured on the left, Ward Organization President and and bon vivant, Ira Colitz (in the center), and Eli Schulman on the right.

This standing dinner date that extended over 20 years was one of the highlights of Eli’s week. Other guests joining the group included Secretary of State, Jesse White, Alderman Burt Natarus of the 42nd Ward and Walter
Burnett, Alderman of the 27th Ward.

This past week, Chicago mourned the passing of George Dunne, who died at his farm in McHenry County on Sunday, May 27th. His service and wake at Holy Name Cathedral attracted the leaders in the business and political
community, all of whom shared respect for George and his passion for helping people. In an era when many politicians thrive on the perks of power, George walked to work each day from his 42nd residence without body guards or escorts.

In his Eulogy at Holy Name, attorney and long time friend, Ray Simon, remarked how George’s life revolved around the 42nd Ward, which includes the Magnificent Mile and Holy Name Cathedral. George was born in the Ward in
1913, seven years before the completion of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, which marked the beginning of the development of Michigan Avenue. He served as Ward Committeeman from 1961 to 2004, a term of 43 years in which the entire profile of the Michigan Avenue neighborhood changed with the development of Streeterville for residential and Northwestern Memorial uses and the decline of the low income housing projects in Cabrini Green to the west as new housing for mixed incomes was developed in its place.

George Dunne was instrumental in the creation of the Eli’ M. Schulman Playground in Seneca Park after Eli’s passing in 1988. It was very fitting as George started his career in politics as the Lake Shore Park Manager,
which is the person responsible for watching over the smaller Seneca Park to its west. In his eulogy, Ray Simon, mentioned George’s affection for Eli and for his sense of humor that was demonstrated at the ceremony naming the Playground for Eli in the Fall of 1988. As Simon recounted, George was a speaker at the dedication ceremony and told of Eli’s love of parks–Arlington Park, Maywood Park and Hawthorn–all race tracks. When George told that story and when Ray recounted it, the audience enjoyed a great laugh, knowing of Eli’s interest in the races.

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Taste of Chicago: The Legacy Continues!

It was in late June of 1980 that then Mayor Jane Byrne announced the first Taste of Chicago. At the press conference was my dad, Eli Schulman, Rich Melman, in the early days of building Lettuce Entertain You in the premiere national restaurant company that it is today, Don Roth, the owner of Don Roth’s and Arnie Morton, famed restaurateur and later creator of Morton’s, who is credited with developing the concept of Taste of Chicago.

What I find very interesting about the photo is the dress of the participants. Rather than the suits and ties of the day, the group was dressed as servers and chefs, a real statement that Taste of Chicago was about local restaurants and their owners personally committed to making sure that guests had
a great experience.

Fast forward 26 years to June 30th, 2006 and the opening of Taste of Chicago. This photo was taken at 7:30am as the vendors at Taste were getting ready for opening day. In this shot, it is me, Charlie Robinson’s Ribs–our neighbor and great friend at Taste for many years, and Sam Sianis, owner of Billy Goat Tavern with restaurants in the Chicago area and Washington DC. We are still in uniform and ready to give our guests at Taste and where ever they enjoy our respective products the best quality and service possible.

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Thank you Crain’s Chicago Business for naming Eli Schulman to the Schmoozer Hall of Fame

Crain’s Chicago Business has always had a special place in Eli’s heart. One of its first issues had a tribute by Rance Crain to Eli’s Corn Beef Hash. It was later in 1987, right before Taste of Chicago, that Crain’s did the first major business story on Eli’s and the growth of his cheesecake.

Eli’s has also helped Crain’s celebrate special events by creating giant birthday cakes for it 20th and 25th birthdays.

We were therefore very honored when Crain’s ran a Schmoozer Hall of Fame in connection with a story on some of the top greeters in town. The list below is a great representation of Chicago hosts and we are delighted to see our founder, Eli Schulman, included and pictured.

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