Saturday, May 31, 2008

ChicagoRound: Billy Goat Tavern

Cheezborger! Cheezborger! Cheezborger!

The Billy Goat Tavern has been a part of the Chicago burgers-and-beers landscape since 1934, but it wasn't until 1978 that it became world-famous in a series of Saturday Night Live sketches that lovingly mocked the chopped language of its Greek owners and staff.

And yes, they still talk that way when you order off their limited, greasy and altogether delicious menu.

The flagship Billy Goat Tavern sits under Michigan Avenue, near the Wrigley Building. Shoppers on the Magic Mile between the Wrigley Building and the Gap probably don't realize they're actually on a bridge above a vast subterranean world of streets, parking lots, delivery bays ... and the Billy Goat. Here's the sign at the entrance to the tavern, with the underbelly of Michigan Avenue just beyond the white pillars:

And here's the garish but still relatively modest front door, complete with billy goat-themed puns and a proud nod to the SNL skit that put the Billy Goat on America's cultural map:

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