Eli’s the Place for Steak

Front of RestaurantThis is where it all started. The popular Chicago restaurant, Eli’s The Place for Steak, was the birthplace of Eli’s Cheesecake.

Located in historic Streeterville, dining at Eli’s was a true Taste of Chicago in every sense of the word. Catch a glimpse of Chicago’s Who’s Who while enjoying real Chicago foods like prime steaks and chops, the famous liver Eli, Shrimp de Jonghe, and of course, Chicago’s favorite dessert – Eli’s Cheesecake.

Inside the RestaurantTopping the list of Eli’s V.I.P. customers from the world of politics, media and sports are President Bill Clinton, Frank Sinatra, and football legend Gale Sayers

Dining at Eli’s is a “true taste of Chicago” in every sense of the word. Catch a glimpse of the City’s “Who’s Who” while enjoying real Chicago foods like Prime Steaks and Chops, Liver Eli, Shrimp De Jonghe and, of course, Chicago ‘s favorite dessert – Eli’s Cheesecake. Walking through the door makes you a part of Eli’s 55 year history.

The story started in 1940 when Eli Schulman opened his first restaurant, Eli’s Ogden Huddle on Chicago’s west side. Just before World War II Eli hung a sign in the window, “If you are hungry and have no money, we will feed you free.” Later he opened Eli’s Stage Delicatessen on Oak Street. Eli’s personal way of making each customer feel important and his sensational food attracted Chicagoans and celebrities alike. The “Stage” became a mecca for the rising talent of the ’60s.

Plate of Eli's SteakEli’s The Place For Steak opened in 1966. Topping the list of Eli’s VIP customers from the worlds of sports, politics and the media are President Bill Clinton, Frank Sinatra and football legend Gale Sayers. It was here that Eli created the now famous Eli’s Cheesecake, which made its debut on July 4, 1980 at the first Taste of Chicago, the City’s nationally renowned food festival.

Eli’s Cheesecake has become a symbol of Chicago. It was proclaimed Chicago’s 150th Birthday Cake, was Mayor Richard M. Daley’s wager when the Bulls won the NBA Championship, and was the dessert at Mayor Daley’s inaugural balls. Eli’s most famous creation was America’s Inaugural Birthday Cake – the 2,000 lb. cheesecake served at the opening of the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Eli's Place for Steak - Dining tableEli’s tradition of taking exceptional care of his customers is continued by his wife, Esther Schulman, and son, Marc Schulman, who share Eli’s philosophy – “We shall serve good food always, at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must.”

Enjoy the view of the City’s tribute to a great Chicagoan, the Eli M. Schulman Playground at Seneca Park as well as the site of the new Museum of Contemporary Art, located directly across the street from the restaurant.

Eli’s The Place for Steak closed its doors in 2005, leaving behind 39 years of great food, great memories and (of course) great desserts!


Best Cheesecake and Best Restaurant for Dessert - Chicago Tribune Readers Poll

After a 39 year run at 215 E. Chicago Avenue, Eli’s the Place for Steak is now closed. Now standing in our location is a new Women’s Hospital built by our former landlord, Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The good news is that Eli’s Cheesecake Bakery Cafe on the northwest side is open! You can shop the largest selection of Eli’s Cheesecakes anywhere, enjoy a freshly prepared lunch, take a guided tour of our award-wining bakery, and even have a birthday party complete with cheesecake decorating.