Strickland’s-on Lake Street, east of Oak Park Avenue (competed with Smithfield’s)

Hillman’s-on Lake Street in the Colt building arcade that went through to Westgate (actually on the east corner of arcade)-a wonderful two-level grocery with fresh fish and shrimp and lots of other goodies. When my mother and I made shrimp creole with a Francois Pope Cooking School recipe, we went there to purchase the fresh Louisiana shrimp. The store had a special smell-I can remember it in my storehouse of food smells-perhaps it was cheeses combined with produce. Whatever it was, it smelled like a real grocery.

And how about:

Val-o-Will Chicken store on Lake and Forest, where the Original Pancake House is now located. Yes, indeedy, fresh chickens from their farm in Lake Geneva, Wis. Chicken parts, whole chickens, eggs, even squabs (dear little things you could roast, one per person). My grandmother wouldn’t buy chicken anywhere else. My grandpa had ulcers and survived on chicken soup made from their fresh chickens. I often went along on the special chicken shopping trip.

There could have been an A & P on Harrison Street, perhaps near the NewlyWed Ice Cream Cake Roll Factory.

About Smithfield’s-their bakery made the only lemon meringue pies that really tasted homemade. One could pass them off as your own or be honest and tell the truth-that the neighborhood bakery provided it. They made a good orange chiffon cake, too. Just like mine.

Roberta L. Raymond
Oak Park

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