Things ain’t what they used to be- especially for baby boomers. There used to be special places to visit in Chicago back in the 1900’s- that sounds so quaint- that are no longer around.
Take, for example, the Buffalo Ice Cream Parlor on Irving Park Road on Chicago’s North Side not far from the intersection of Pulaski. It was across the street from the Irving Park Theater, yes? I did not grow up anywhere near this location, having been a West Side boy learning to fend for myself in the Austin neighborhood.
Anytime Dad took us to the North Side was a treat. It seemed so much bigger and more sophisticated than our humble environment. In my young narrow focus, anything on the other side of the Congress Expressway was already the South Side and the Lake Street El about a mile to the north from our two flat on Quincy Street was my imaginary north border. Beyond Lake Street up to North Avenue was considered no man’s land- sort of a buffer zone to prepare us for the elegance up north.
Ah, that Buffalo place! Where else could you have such a large ice cream sundae with a cherry on top, garnished as well as with a miniature flag or wooden parasol? Or that unique Chicago treat called a Chocolate Phosphate? Legend has it that the place was possibly named for Buffalo, New York, the city that claimed the origination of the ice cream sundae although other cities also claimed creative license as well including nearby north suburban Evanston.
By the 1980’s both the cinema and the ice cream store were gone. The family that owned the parlor moved it several years later to a location on Dempster Street in suburban Morton Grove. It was apparently successful for a short while but eventually closed down there as well. A similarly named restaurant now exists in Buffalo Grove but am not sure if they have a true connection to the original ownership.
As Buffalo’s loyal patronage shifted further north over the years, ice cream lovers discovered another emporium that brought back memories of the parlor experience. Lockwood Castle became a favorite weekend hangout for dates. It was located at the corner of Central and Devon on the far northwest side of the city. However, by the turn of the century, it too faded away and is now the site of a coffee shop.
All that being said, I stopped eating ice cream years ago as one of the last vestiges of dairy items that still entered my body. Now, I eat fake non-dairy ice cream especially those made from tofu. Today, there are other foods I slowly wean off as well. As a kid into early adult life with a lot of energy to burn, it was natural to drink a full bottle of pop at lunch at school. Today, I don’t buy pop at the store to bring home. The only time now it gets into my guts is when I get invited somewhere and it is being offered or am at a client where the only liquid option in the vending machine is pop. Even then, I look for the diet brand.
Don’t even bring up beef. Just as the body and mind ages, so do tastes, I guess.