Fluky’s was around here somewhere

Independence Blvd Chicago

On a recent bus tour of the old Jewish neighborhoods of Chicago, I was lucky to be sitting behind two brothers who grew up on the West Side. One of the brothers said he was 90 years old; I didn’t ask if he was the older or the younger one. Their running commentary–which included the words I used to title this blogpost– gave those of us who could overhear them a wonderful sense of the liveliness of the Lawndale neighborhood back when it was a large Jewish community.

The Chicago Jewish Historical Society offered the tour and author Irving Cutler was the official guide. Like the two brothers seated in front of me, Mr. Cutler provided first-hand recollections of growing up in Lawndale. He also shared the mic with others on board who recalled the penny candy stores, movie theaters, delis and, of course, hot dog stands.

When I started writing about Chicago in this blog, I had no plans to narrow my focus to Hollywood Park, the North Side neighborhood where I grew up.  But I quickly realized to make sense of how I experience Chicago, I had to understand my neighborhood.

And although I’ve been uncovering fascinating stories about Hollywood Park for going on four years now, one of the first things I learned was that to understand the Hollywood Park of my childhood, I had to learn about the West Side of an earlier generation. Because before there was the Fluky’s hot dog stand on Western Avenue not far from Hollywood Park on the North Side, there was the Fluky’s hot dog stand somewhere in Lawndale on the West Side.

I have more photos and more to say about my experiences on the West Side, but I’ll be spreading them over several posts.



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38 Responses to Fluky’s was around here somewhere

  1. Howard Glantz July 23, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    After Fluky’s closed on the west side Ray Hara, who owned Mitches on Lawrence at Kimball, opened a store called Fluky’s on Lawrence just off the north west corner of Kimball. It was a “take out” restaurant. It closed before Fluky’s reopened on Western Ave near Pratt. Serveral of my friends worked at Mitches and Fluky’s.

    Many of the Lilgents hung out at Mitches, during the middle ’50’s, and Ray was the uncle of one of our group. He had a partner, Marvin Diamond. Some of our club members and many of our other friends were from the West Side before moving to Albany Park.

  2. Paul July 23, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    I lived right there Independence/Roosevelt went to Gregory Grammar School and Marshall High and Roosevelt (Gave my brother’s address) don’t remember any Fluky’s nearby but it was great growing up there, had wonderful friends till I joined the Army

  3. Frances Archer July 23, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Howard, that is a little-known story about the Fluky’s take-out on Lawrence. Nice to hear from you.

  4. Frances Archer July 23, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Hi, Paul. Thanks for stopping by. So, did you ever actually live in Albany Park when you were at Roosevelt?

  5. Paul July 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    No never lived there took 3 buses from the westside every day I was at Roosevelt my sophmore,junior and senior years. I had to leave Marshall after One year as I was getting into to much trouble. I never imagined it would be worse at Roosevelt but it was . There was so much anti-semitism with the people from a hangout called “Ma’s” and punks from Lane Tech used to come to our hangout and start fights. It was a very tough time but we did just fine.The L’il Gents were by far the toughest club, the weren’t afraid of anyone. It was a fun time for me then I went to the Army I am a Vietnam Era Veteran 1960-1966 and was stationed in Munich Germany.

  6. Bob Rosen July 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    My parents spoke of Flukys (Flukeys?) on Ogden Avenue. Hot dogs were 7 cents. I am thinking it must have gone back to the 1930’s.

    I once lived at 910 S. Independence Blvd. Went to kindergarten at Gregory school. Teacher was Mrs. Kanef (not sure of spelling). Still have the photo. I will be 74 on July 29.

    Also lived at 12th and Avers and went to Bryant. 1649 S. Ridgeway and went to Penn. Fullerton and Spalding and went to Darwin. 1313 N. Western and went to Schley. 4414 N. Bernard and went to Patrick Henry. Two other grade schools in Idaho and California.

    Can anybody beat my grade school total?

    When my friends hung out at Mitches, 1955-56, the owners name was Les.

  7. Frances Archer July 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi, Bob. I only went to two grade schools, nowhere near your record. Did you see Howard’s comments about Mitch’s? Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Paul July 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    I lived at 1110 Independence I’m 71 so it was a good bus ride to Roosevelt, Huh?

  9. Bob Rosen July 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Ye, I saw the comments about Mitch’s. I don’t remember anyone else but Les, who I thought was owner.

  10. Bob Rosen July 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    By the time I graduated grade school we lived at 4414 Bernard, just 2 blocks from Roosevelt. I attended Roosevelt all four years, 2/53 to 2/57


  11. Pam Carlson July 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    I remember going to Fluky’s on Lawrence and Kimball as a little girl in the 50’s! We used to get hotdogs there all the time..I never have been crazy about the one on Western. I believe the hot dog place in the Walmart (Niles, IL) is also a Fluky’s now too.

  12. Jeffrey Horwitz July 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    There was a Flukeys on Roosevelt Rd. Read a book about the Lawndale neighborhood and how there were over 120, 000 Jews living there. Flukeys was mentioned in it.

  13. Ralph July 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Sorry to say that I was not a Flukey’s lover. I use to go to Beefy 19 down the street on Western Ave. just north of Foster Ave. until it burned down.

  14. Frances Archer July 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Hi, Jeffrey. Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you recall the name of the book about Lawndale. Thanks.

  15. Jeryl July 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Hi Frances 🙂 My father was a westsider. He graduated from Marshall Highschool. He lived on one of the “K” streets and his family owned a dry cleaners in the neighborhood called Eagle Laundry. Are you familiar with the “GVS” Club? I assume you are. It’s the Great Vest Side (think Yiddish) club and it’s a large group of men who have been gathering for years. They are social as well as philanthropic. I’m fairly certain my father was a member before he died 20+ years ago. My mom remarried several years after my dad passed away and she married another west sider, who is also a member of GVS! The Jewish world, particularly in Chicago, is a small one, don’t you think?

  16. len July 24, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    There were a handful of Flukys locations around the city including one on 63rd street in woodlawn.

  17. Frances Archer July 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Hi, Jeryl. It’s been amazing for me to learn how many people who went to Von have roots on the West Side — I never knew that while I was growing up because my parents weren’t from Chicago. And, yes, I had heard about the club — I think there was an article about it in the papers some years ago. Thank you for stopping by.

  18. Steve Lipkin October 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    This really brought back memories as I too attended Gregory School while living at 815 S. Lawndale-right across the street. I was one of the “Lane Tech punks”, however, and took the bus to Lane for a year until we moved to Olive Ave. in Hollywood Park.
    BTW, 815 S. Lawndale is now a park.

  19. Paul October 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    I graduated from Gregory in 1955 or so went to Marshall for a year got in so many fights I had to give my brother’s address to get into Roosevelt. My Brother Erwin was a star basketball player at Marshall he was born in1935 and is now deceased from Cancer. My 2 sisters and other brother all graduated from Marshall sisters live in Israel since 1956 and my older brother also died in his 60’s of Cancer I was a proud member of the Regular Fella’s and got in lots of trouble with Lane Tech anti-semites when they used to come to our scholl for fights. We NEVER lost!

  20. Frances Archer October 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Paul, thanks for posting this recollection. I’m fascinated with the stories of families who lived both on the West Side and then came to Albany Park — thought it sounds as though only you were in Albany Park for school, but still lived on the West Side. Did you family eventually move North?

  21. Frances Archer October 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Steve, do you know Paul. Not sure if your years overlapped but you were at the same elementary school. I’ve heard from a few others who lived on Olive — probably at different times. I have a a photo of a building on Olive here: http://wp.me/PXIQu-1f2 Scroll down to the second photograph and tell me if you recognize the building.

  22. Pam Carlson October 2, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    There was also a Fluky’s on Lawrence a little west of Kimball in the 50’s.

  23. Paul October 2, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Hi Frances No they never moved north and never wanted to. Their next move was to Israel where they retitred. They are buried on the Mount of Olives, my father was a huge Zionist for Israel as are my sisters. In Chicago people always seemed to know my name because of “Warshawsky and Company” The largest auto dealership in the USA fortunately no relation (Ha Ha)

  24. Steve Lipkin October 2, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    I went to Gregory School from 1950-58.
    The building I lived in on Olive was at 3235. i was able to Googlemap it for a Street View and it’s still there.

  25. Bob Rosen October 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I went to Gregory in 1944. Later went to Penn, Bryant, Darwin, Schley, and Patrick Henry. Registered for high school at Lane Tech. When my dad found out the next day, he undid it and made me sign up at Roosevelt H.S. Later, I was happy he did.

  26. Frances Archer October 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Bob, when you compare how you got into Lane to the process the kids have to go through today, it’s hard to believe. You certainly know a lot of the old schools. Thanks for stopping by.

  27. Frances Archer October 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Steve, I think that’s the same building I photographed, right? Very fancy engraving in the arched limestone panels over the windows. It looks beautiful today.

  28. Frances Archer October 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Paul, when it sounds like your parents must have made a wise choice. You are an honorary Albany Parker, then.

  29. Frances Archer October 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Pam — yes, I’ve heard that before, but didn’t know the exact location. That would have been more convenient.

  30. Steve Lipkin October 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    The Olive Ave. bldg. I lived in had only 3 apartments.

  31. Ben Kirman October 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    I went to Lane Tech for all 4 years and graduated in 1960. I lived on California Ave. south of Foster and was very involved with my Al Jolson AZA friends from Albany Park. Lane was a great school, all boys in those days and tough to get into. For starters you had to live north of Madison Street, which of course I did. More importantly you had to be a top student academically and have a strong recommendation from your grammar school. I attended Budlong School and both my 8th grade teacher and the Principal were there for me. I was very glad I attended Lane and had an excellent academic record, which got me into Northwestern University. Without my Budlong and Lane experiences I can only wonder what I would have missed accomplishing in my like; I have done very well and credit a significant part to my early and later education.

    Lane was and is a big school, 6000 boy students in my day and there was plenty of room for Jewish students like me. I never had any problems and had many friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish. So whatever rep lane may have, I never saw it or experienced it.

  32. Jay Korr September 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Fluky’s Hot Dogs was on Roosevelt Road next door to the Central Park Theater. We would go to the movie for ten cents and then get a hot dog and fries and a drink for a quarter at Fluky’s. I think Fluky started out on Maxwell Street selling Red Hots from a cart, my Dad told me that, but I never got one there.

  33. Frances Archer September 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Jay,thanks for stopping by. I heard about the Central Park theater and much more on the Jewish West Side tour. Many buildings still standing.

  34. Paul September 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Jay That was heaven for me you made my mouth water! I lived on Independence near Roosevelt road and I went to that show (Not movie theatre) all the time and of course had 2 hot dogs with everything and peppers. I graduated Roosevelt in Jan 1960 and went right to Europe in the Army and was discharged in 1966. I am a Vietnam Era Veteran. When I got out americans were spitting on us and throwing garbage at us, it was the most disgusting time of my life coming back home I wish I stayed in Europe. Now people treat us Veterans wonderful and are ashamed as can be what they did to us, I am so proud to have served my country when my brothers sisters family and friends said I was the stupid one for not going to college, Well Jay I don’t think so I was an Army Veteran and I am so proud I made that decision, They are the cowards and dummies.

  35. Paul September 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    This reply is for Ben Kirman Lane Tech graduate 1960. Ben I graduated the same time as you and I can’t tell you all the times we fought Lane Tech anti-semites. They used to come in cars with clubs and go to our Roosevelt Hangout to beat up Jews but Ben that never happened my club brothers the Regular Fellas and Little Gents beat their asses and after a few times they never returned. I had a lotta fun kickin ass in those days.Lane Tech, Schurz were the most ant-semitic I’m glad you never experienced that I did my entire life.

  36. Jay Korr September 20, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    I came to Hollywood Park when I was in the 6th grade, I started out my school career at the Bryant School, which was between 13th and 14th west of Crawford. Roosevelt Road was the center of all our lives in Lawndale . There were five movie shows between Kedzie and Crawford. The Central Park, the 20th Century, the Gold, the Road, and the Rena. The Rena was our favorite, because on Saturday we got in for a dime and watched a movie and a bunch of serials, and then Bert Popopowser and his band would play and they would give prizes away, the grand prize for week was a bike, which I never won. The owner Nate Grossman was loved by all the kids in the neighborhood because he told us that if we came every week our chances of winning the bike was better. Those were the days. My dad would give me a quarter and my brother and I would go to the show for a dime each and a cone of popcorn for a nickel. My how times have changed, I pay over two dollars for a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

  37. Ben Kirman September 20, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    Paul, I appreciate your recent post about your experiences at Lane Tech and while they are quite different from mine, they do express a very different reality. I never had any issues about anti-Semitic behaviors directed toward me either in or outside of school. Perhaps I was just lucky since i had many close associations with the members of Al Jolson AZA who were all with the exception of me, from Albany Park. While we both graduated in the same year (1960), knowing just your first name means I have no idea if I know you. Lane was and is a very big school, so if you know me, please post and let me know.

  38. Paul September 21, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    My last name is Warshawsky and I really never knew anyone from Lane Tech, I doubt that we ever ran into each other. I’m glad you had a good experience there but in my childhood anti-Semitism was rampant, I have so many bad memories

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