Goodbye to a Neighborhood Landmark


WTTW has posted a video segment about Bill Tong and his family, who owned Hollywood Park’s long-lived Chinese restaurant Tong’s Tea Garden, located at 3411 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue.

Bill’s mother still lives in the apartment above the restaurant, where Bill and his sister, Dolly, grew up. They no longer own the restaurant, now called Hunan Wok, but both the Tongs and the restaurant will be leaving the building for good, which is on land acquired by Northeastern Illinois University for expansion.

What else was on the north south side of Bryn Mawr between Kimball to Bernard in the 1960s? Congregation Lev Someach, Beck’s Books, Follett’s,  CV’s Snack Shop, and the barber shop. Did I forget anything?

I’ve embedded the video on this page, but not sure how long the link will be active, so check it out soon. Don’t miss the two images of Bryn Mawr Avenue and Bill’s Peterson School class photo.

Photo courtesy of Bill Tong

13 Responses to Goodbye to a Neighborhood Landmark

  1. Richard Dong December 2, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    A small correction – these businesses were on the south side of Bryn Mawr.

    CV’s was on the corner and the barber shop was south of CV’s on Kimball. In the late 50s or early 60s near Tong’s on Bryn Mawr was also a pizza place, the first in the neighborhood, and Gill’s pharmacy. Before the strip mall on the NW corner there was, I think, a gas station. Was there a school for deaf (or blind?) students on the south side of Bryn Mawr 1 or 2 blocks west of Tong’s?

  2. irv Schultz December 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    I remember a Sweeden Shop on that block or the next….I use to buy my wife a christmas plate there every year

  3. Frances Archer December 2, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Are you thinking of the Sweden Shop on Foster, or was there a different place? The Sweden Shop is still open.

  4. Frances Archer December 2, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    Thanks,Richard, for catching that. I know of Gill’s Pharmacy through readers of the blog, but I don’t remember it. There was a Jewish Home for the Blind on Foster near St. Louis. Is that what you are thinking of?

  5. Richard Dong December 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    Yes, the home on Foster was the one I was thinking about.

  6. Ryan Stoner December 2, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

    Don’t forget about the storefront with a couple video games and a pinball machine. I think at some point there was a comic book shop on that side too. This was in the ’80s.

  7. Frances Archer December 2, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

    Ryan, thanks for filling in the gaps in my memory. That does sound familiar.

  8. Sue Mary December 3, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    The fastest rational was Sinclair. I remember the dinosaur. The pizza place was called Sherry. You could get a small 10 inch pizza for about $1.25.

  9. Sue Mary December 3, 2016 at 7:50 am #

    Sorry… Correction. The gas station was Sinclair.. Pizza place was Sherry’s

    ***** Frances… Feel free to correct the above.

  10. Frances Archer December 3, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    Thanks, Sue. I have heard of the pizza place called Sherry but never knew where it was located.

  11. Kenneth Barker December 4, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

    Frances Archer Thank your for posting. While I have never paid a visit to Tongs the video left me feeling nostalgic for Lost Chicago.

  12. Ralph December 12, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    The gas station, now Pete’s Auto Clinic opened up around 1930. Tong’s Tea Garden building was built around 1956 according to city records.

    I must have passed Tong’s hundreds of times but never stopped in.

  13. Frances Archer December 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    Thanks, Ralph. Really interesting that the gas station dates back to 1930.

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