Throwback Thursday: Richard's Tavern

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By Historical Society

Located at 7505 Madison, Richard's Tavern (now Slainte), was a familiar restaruant on Madison, and was one of Forest Park's most highly respected dining establishments. 

But the history of dining at 7505 Madison goes back before Richard's to the early days of Forest Park.  In 1911 Ben Idelson moved to Forest Park and purchased a Saloon and Restaurant at 7445 Madison (present day Scratch Kitchen and Lounge) and called it Idelson's. Idelson was there for nine years (before moving shop to a home at 630 Thomas) and then invested back onto Madison with a "New Building" built for Idelson & Lament in 1921.

The Grand Opening, December 17, 1921 featured a high class billiard hall, lunch room and hotel for men only.  See advertisement from December 10, 1921 Forest Park Reveiw.

Prohibition along Madison meant that alcoholic beverages were banned (at least above the surface).  Idelson & Lamont's specialized in sea food and was successful.   In March of 1929 Idelson remodeled and took primary ownership and renamed the restaurant, "Ben's Sea Food Palace." Not just known for sea food he also served different kinds of soup, fancy sandwiches of turkey, corned beef and barbecued beef, sauerkraut with polish sausage, steaks and roasted chicken halves; sides included french fries, onion rings, pickled beets, baked beans and there was an extensive dessert menu.    

In 1934, a year after prohibition's end,  a local villager, Rudy Maiwurm took over the second floor of the establishment creating the Kit-Kat-Klub.  The new cafe had music, dancing and dining and local music groups. The food was brought upstairs via the "dummie-waiter."

 Idelson's restaurant flourished and was one of the hottest dining and meeting places in the western suburbs.  It especially catered to  Proviso Township political trade plus that from other celebrated dignitaries.  In addition, Ben Idelson was elected Constable on the Proviso Township non-partisan ticket.

The establishment changed hands to Richard Wunderlich who renamed it to Richard's.  Later business partners Bauman and Olson purchased it in 1948  just as Proviso Township was booming after World War II.  The new owers kept the name and continued to build on the reputation.  


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