Daley's Restaurant

This iconic eatery is also Chicago's oldest

Founded in 1892 by immigrant ironworker John Daley, Daley’s Restaurant is famous for being the oldest Chicago eatery. While the surname Daley has proven to be popular throughout the history of the city, John Daley had no known relation to the former Chicago Mayor Daley. With the construction of the University of Chicago, as well as preparation for The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, John Daley capitalized on the opportunity to provide food for the construction workers (it was a welcome alternative to potentially dangerous construction work in the Chicago winds). Daley established the initial eatery in an empty storefront on East 63rd Street, and the rest is history. What started as a business in the developing neighborhood of Woodlawn soon became a city staple.

In 1918, Daley sold the restaurant to a pair of Greek immigrants, Paul Emmanuel and Tom Kyros. Despite the change of ownership, Emmanuel and Kyros chose to preserve the restaurant’s name. The restaurant continued to do well until 1932, when the bank that was financing the restaurant’s remodeling failed, causing Emmanuel and Kyros to lose everything. However, in 1937, the pair had saved and borrowed enough to reopen the restaurant, this time calling it New Daley’s Restaurant.

From that point onward, the restaurant’s success carried it through multiple decades, economic periods, and political movements. In 2018, the construction of a new location began. The new Daley’s is located close to the original restaurant, around the corner on S Cottage Grove Ave.

Click here for the Daley's Restaurant menu.