Finding Presidents in Unusual Places

Gino's NorthUPDATE: Scroll all the way down down to see the latest!

I sort of regularly grab a cocktail at a little place called Gino’s North. It’s in Edgewater, a few doors east of the Granville L stop.

Back in the early ’40’s founder and and restaurateur Frank Meltiades dreamed of having a swanky cocktail lounge. When the space became available, he opened the Snow Drop Lounge. The lounge was named after the Per Hasselberg statue, Snöcklackan. Frank picked out this reproduction to grace the bar and she’s lived here since.

At least that’s the story the bar tells us. Snöcklackan is actually a nude, so somewhere along the way she acquire a dress and moved her limbs a bit.

Given its current moniker in the 1990s, the bar still looks pretty much the same as it did when Frank opened the place. It’s a great mix of local residents.

This weekend, for the first time,  I sat directly in front of Snöcklackan. I often thought she could be a Larkin Goldsmith Mead. It’s pretty plausible, given some circumstances. The local Balaban and Katz theater (The Granada) reinvented itself many times. B & K sold off much of the theater’s finery over the decades.  They had a Lincoln sculpture by Goldsmith Mead at the Granada; many of their other theaters had his works, too. I find remnants from the Granada all over the city, in the neighborhood too. Hasselberg and Goldsmith Mead were contemporaries; with very similar styles. Given that this is probably not a reproduction of Snöcklackan, I still might be correct.

My friend and I sipped and chatted about our week as we waited for our table. I took a moment to really look at Snöcklackan. 

Then, I noticed this:

Do you see it?

Look above her head, left of the blue flower.

I swear I see Gutzon Borglum’s Mt. Rushmore rendition of George Washington!

The profile is almost unmistakeable!

I am sorry to say that it completely disappears when you look at it from the side.

Sn0cklackan collects treasures from bar patrons all the time. Customers send postcards and other trinkets to her. On Mardi Gras she is practically buried in beads.

Gino’s North is full of Edgewater History, too. It’s one of the neighborhood’s longest continually running businesses. It started as a fruit market in 1940. Back in the ’50s when my dad was at Northwestern for a summer semester he recalled visiting a jazz club “right off Granville.” So there’s a real chance that when I am sitting at Gino’s North I am occupying the same space as my dad, long before he was my dad!

It’s not a Boul Mich, $14 glass of wine here, either.  A generous pour at a reasonable price is always a welcome surprise!

They are fiercely committed to thin crust pizza-there is no deep dish on the menu. To tell the truth, most locals don’t eat that anyway. If you come, try my favorite-sausage and gorgonzola cheese. Get it well done.

25 February 2020

Look what I spotted while walking to meet friends for breakfast in South Loop!

It is our bar mascot all dressed up in red!