CHEEZBORGER! CHEEZBORGER! CHEEZBORGER!
The Chicago Cubs are about to make cheeseburger history – as one iconic restaurant brings back the “Billy Goat Curse” on the eve of the 2016 World Series!
INTRODUCING THE BILLY GOAT TAVERN OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS!
The original Billy Goat Tavern, located in Chicago, was founded in 1937 by Billy Sianis, a Greek immigrant. It is a Chicago icon for two reasons: a supposed curse on the Chicago Cubs, and the hilarious “Cheezborger” Olympia Cafe sketch on Saturday Night Live, starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Chicago Cubs fan Bill Murray!
According to Wikipedia, here is the story of the Billy Goat Tavern:
“The first location was opened in 1937 when William “Billy Goat” Sianis bought the Lincoln Tavern, near Chicago Stadium, for $205 with a bounced check (he made good on it with the proceeds from the first weekend they were open). When the 1944 Republican National Convention came to town, he posted a sign saying “No Republicans allowed” causing the place to be packed with Republicans demanding to be served. Of course, a great deal of publicity followed and Sianis took advantage of that fact.”
THE CURSE OF THE BILLY GOAT! THE “CUBS CURSE!”
Here is the story of the legendary “Billy Goat” curse…
Owner Sianis brought a pet goat, a tavern mascot, to Game 4 of the 1945 World Series, a home game at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Tigers.
Despite paid-for box seat tickets, Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley allegedly ejected Sianis and goat – apparently he thought the goat smelled! At that point, Sianis placed a curse on the team that they would not win another pennant or play in a World Series again!
There have been many attempts to rid the team of the curse, including allowing a goat into Wrigley Field – but until now, the team has never won another World Series – will this year be the year that the Cubs break the curse?
Good luck to both the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians – I know it will be a great game!
Now, here is a little bit about the legendary “Cheezborger! Cheezborger! Cheezborger!” skit:
As you enter, a sign reads: “Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger. No Pepsi. Coke,” These words, with Pepsi and Coke in reverse order, were originally spoken and immortalized by John Belushi in, “Olympia Cafe,” an early Saturday Night Live sketch that was inspired by the tavern. Anytime anyone orders food, Belushi yelled out “CHEEZBORGER! CHEEZBORGER!” If they order fries, it was “NO FRIES. CHIPS!”
It was Bill Murray and sketch writer Don Novello who were the regulars at the Billy Goat, and came up with the sketch idea for Saturday Night Live.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE CHEEZBORGER?
Oh yeah, that’s right – you want to know how the cheeseburger tasted! Well, let’s get to my experience!
BILLY GOAT’S TINY GRILL!
Once you walk down the steps into the tavern, you wait in line and place your order with a Cashier – and yes, the Cashier yells “Cheezborger! Cheezborger!” dramatically with every order. Also in fact, they do NOT have fries OR Pepsi, but they have a small number of other sandwiches – that said, the vast majority of those in line were ordering the double cheeseburger, and so I did the same…
The very small grill is covered with hamburger patties, plus slices of the occasional steak, thinly sliced for a steak sandwich – finally, you can see the buns on the grill as well…that’s really all there is, as you will see…
The grill is always full of meat, so your order only takes a minute to come up, and here is what you get: two meat patties with a slice of cheese between them – on a bun. Their job is now done, and your is just beginning…
That’s right: it’s up to you. This small condiment bar has all they have to offer you for your burger: sliced and chopped onions, pickles, mustard and ketchup. That’s it, knock yourself out!
I love mayonaise, so I missed not having that available. However, the pickles were big, meaty, and nicely crisp dill slices that I piled on, and then I gave the burger a sprinkling of diced onions and a dash of mustard – and finally a colorful swirl of ketchup. That’s it, dinner is served!
As you can see, the pickles really help provide some bulk to the burger, as the two patties and cheese are fairly thin…but since I love pickles, I loaded it up and got some height going…
SURVEYING THE ROOM
When it’s busy, it can be hard to find an empty table, as you can see – but I found a seat at the bar and settled in to try my cheeseburger…
I would actually recommend sitting at the bar, as you get a good sense of the energy of the place, especially with the Bartender hitting the old-fashioned cash register over and over for every drink he makes…and even though it was only noon, he was making a lot of them…
A stuffed Billy Goats head is above the register, announcing a special drink with Rum for $6 – I passed and settled for a Schlitz draft…
As you eat, you can gaze upon decades of newspaper articles, photos, and signs – you could spend hours looking at all of it – and the entire time you hear the constant shouts of “CHEEZBORGER! CHEEZBORGER!” ringing out behind you – and the Bartender hits the bell on the register with every single sale, and there is the consistent sound of “no fries, chips!” and “no Pepsi! Coke!” from the workers as well…and you realize the Billy Goats is as much performance art as it is a meal…
After all is said and done, the double cheeseburger was $4.85, and the glass of Schlitz beer was $3.50…for $8.35, it was fun to eat in an iconic place with fun stories, tons of attitude, and a vibrant atmosphere…
So bite down on a “Cheezborger” and let’s play ball!
Categories: Food, Food Review, Hamburgers, Recipes, Restaurants, Travel, Uncategorized
Reblogged this on johnrieber and commented:
The true story of the original “Billy Goat” curse on the Chicago Cubs!