Local Treasure: Goldyburgers

There are stories here; you can feel them.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By David Hammond

Driving to Goldyburgers in Forest Park for lunch last week, we heard on WBEZ that McDonald’s led the Dow in 2011, up 31%.

Meanwhile, at lunchtime in Goldyburgers, there were just two tables occupied. Business was not booming, which is too bad, because this is a real place, an authentic chunk of the past that somehow seems to survive despite the fact that you can eat cheaper and faster at McDonald’s and any one of a number of other local quick service restaurants.

What Goldyburgers has going for it is atmosphere.

Now, it may not be the atmosphere you like, and Yelp puts Goldyburgers in their “dive bar” category, but it’s quite definitely the atmosphere that I like. The wooden booths, the Formica tables on metal pedestals that look like they came off a battleship, the tin ceiling, all these elements look to be original equipment, and as my wife, Carolyn, said, “You can feel that this is the kind of place that has had generations of people come through it.”

Our friend Ben Grimes told us he used to come here with his dad and play with his brother in the front room of Goldyburgers while his dad watched sports with the others in the back bar. Ben’s 33 years old now.

Mary, our server, introduced herself when we walked in, checked in on us frequently, seemed to be genuinely concerned about our happiness, and was extremely apologetic when she had to admit that the Frank’s Hot Mustard (which the menu encouraged me to ask for) hadn’t been available for years.

Mike Sullivan, the owner of Goldyburgers, just celebrated his 30th year there. The place used to be owned by the Goldstein family, but Mary figured most of them were gone by now.

We had the Goldyburger and the Friday Fish Fry, and they were both pretty much exactly as they probably always were. Not spectacular, but when eaten in the beaten down dining room, which used to be the old bar, they were probably tastier than they would have been in many other places.

Goldyburgers opened in 1926, in the middle of Prohibition, so I’m guessing the bar came after Prohibition was repealed (or was this place actually serving booze during Prohibition?). There are stories here; you can feel them.

While we were having lunch in a side booth, two guys stuck in their heads, saw the empty room, and left. That’s too bad, because this place deserves more traffic and because even when it’s seemingly deserted, there’s a lot of life at Goldyburgers. It’s a local treasure.





Reader Comments

2 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

doug kelner from oak park  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 8:08 PM

Goldyburgers has the best burgers in town. When we moved to Oak Park 21 years ago a friend recommended the place, and we are glad she did. We continue to recommend the burgers.


Posted: January 2nd, 2012 2:26 PM

Thanks for reminding me about goldyburgers! We use to eat there alot when my children were young, it was very family friendly! They also had a great patio. I will make sure & re-visit in 2012!!!!

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2017

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad