“Just Good Food”
For years, Schwaben Stube fed the largely German Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. As best I can tell because it was before my time, Schwaben Stube closed sometime around 1983. Like its brethren, its legacy lives on here at the Chicago Bar Project.
“A cheery little checked-tablecloth restaurant with a small but thoroughly satisfactory menu, marvelous lentil soup, fresh, juicy bratwurst sandwiches at noon and, on weekends, succulent roast duck. Portions are enormous. It’s the best possible place to lunch if you’re touring the WGN television studios nearby. Soup entree, beverage for a top of $1.55.”
– Chicago, an Extraordinary Guide (1967) by Jory Graham
Schwaben Stube means “room, chamber or parlour of the Swabians (Schwaben),” or perhaps more simply, “Swabian Room.” As for “Swabia,” it was, “a historical region of southwest Germany that originally included parts of present-day France and Switzerland. It was divided into small principalities and fiefdoms after 1268, but its prosperous towns often banded together in defensive leagues, most notably the Swabian League of 1488 to 1534,” according to Dictionary.com.
“Wide selection of solid, tasty, homestyle dishes for family dining. Daily specialties include breaded pork tenderloin with apple sauce, Kassler rippchen with red cabbage, pork and veal chips, and Wienerschnitzel. Usually you’ll also find sauerbraten, roulade of beef, beef Stroganoff, and a delicious duck entree on the menu. Three dining rooms and a bar offer excellent service in a clean, attractive setting. Tue-Sun 11:30am-mid. Fri and Sat to 1am. Child.”
– The Chicago GuideBook (1973)
Schwaben Stube was located at the corner of Lincoln, Cornelia and Hermitage, and across from the classic, Old World butcher shop, otherwise known as the Paulina Meat Market. It later became a gourmet restaurant called Wild Onion, which closed a few years ago and has remained vacant since then.
“I was delighted to stumble across your website, and your comments about all the closings of so many German places… Ironically, we just returned from 5-years living in Germany, to find most of the places my family frequented as I was growing up, are now ‘kaput’! Do you recall the old ‘Schwaben Stube’, located on Lincoln Ave? This one has been gone for quite a while; last I looked, a place called ‘Wild Onion’ was at the location… Anyway, the Schwaben Stube featured unique hand-painted murals on the walls, depicting, among other things, the folk song “der Schwabishe Eisenbahn” (the little Schwabish railway). This told the story of a miserly old German and his unlucky goat.”
– J.A. (April 16, 2004)
The old mural at Schwaben Stube reminds me of a few other murals found in this great city, including the Swedish hunter mural at Simon’s, the pair of grizzly bear murals at Grizzly’s Lodge, the exposed breast at Laschet’s Inn, and the suggestive nymphs at Southport Lanes.
“Schwaben Stube is a friendly neighborhood restaurant of comfortable informality and cheering gemuetlichkeit. It’s a family place with appeal to the hearty appetite and with Old Country entertainment Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Good robust fare includes crisp roast duck with dressing and red cabbage; pork shank with sauerkraut; pot roast with potato pancake; roulade of beef with potato dumpling; roast loin of pork; boiled beef with horseradish sauce; prime rib of beef, hasenpfeffer; braised ox tails; sauerbraten and spaetzels. Orders may be à la carte or table d’hôte–after 10pm, only à la carte. European beers, wines, and liqueurs are specialties.”
– A Chicagoland Restaurant Guide (1978) “presented with Pride and Prejudice” by Kay Loring
“Costumed waitresses and weekend entertainment are also attractions at Schwaben Stube (3500 North Lincoln Avenue), a standby with solid ‘continental ‘ food: sauerbraten and spätzle, pork shank with sauerkraut, weinerschnitzel and roast duck.”
– Chicago Magazine Guide to Chicago (1983)
While Schwaben Stube has gone the way of many other gone but not forgotten Germanic restaurants and bars like Zum Deutschen Eck, Golden Ox, Schulien’s, Metro Club, Heidelberger Fass, Von Stuke’s
Hofbrau, Hogen’s Restaurant, I am happy to say that you can still get a mean sauerbraten here:
- Chicago Brauhaus
- Resi’s Bierstube
- Laschet’s Inn
- Hansa Clipper
- Glunz Bavarian Haus
The back of the postcard on the left says, “SCHWABEN STUBE 3500 Lincoln Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60613, Phone: Diversey 8-8856. Just Good Food. Private dining room for all occasions. ‘Gemütlichkeit !’ A word of much meaning, yet we cannot translate. A wonderful word that carries much weight. Geniality, contentment, similar words we hear. Hospitality, good fellowship, all are very near. But you have to assemble them, with one great might, and you have to translate– ‘Gemütlichkeit!'”
“I recently Googled Schwaben Stube and came across your site. My Great-Grandfather opened ‘The Stubie’ as my father calls it and my Grandfather ran it until its closing. Unfortunately, the Schwaben Stube closed a few years after I was born and I have no recollection of it besides stories and some pictures. I went to the Paulina Market a few weeks back and saw that the building that housed the Schwaben Stube–and later the Wild Onion–is now gone to make way for condos. It’s unfortunate that the last holdouts in that neighborhood are the Paulina Meat Market and Dinkel’s. Oh well. Well thank you for the site. It put some smiles on some of my relatives’ faces.”
– J.S. (June 26, 2007)