history

A Ghost of Hamburgers Past Appears on Ashland

Beneath La Pasadita's paint.

Beneath La Pasadita's paint.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

The bright yellow building just south of Ashland had been La Pasadita for as long as anyone could remember; before that, who had any idea what it was? But when the original La Pasadita gave up that location rather than pay higher rent, the landlord began stripping off the paint— revealing a slice of restaurant history in the form of 1930s-era white tile advertising 5¢ hamburgers, as first talked about by a poster at the great historical photo blog/forum Forgotten Chicago.

There's not a great deal of information about the Snappy Service System chain online, but the white tile and name are typical of hamburger chains of that era that tried to seem more sanitary and modern than the usual lunchwagon spots, like White Castle or, a little later, the one the McDonald's brothers started in California. It was apparently started by a man named Albert Pierce in Dallas; the Chicago ones were started by his brother Tom, but we haven't seen anything specific to indicate how long the chain lasted in Chicago. (Check out this very cool— and very pricy— example of their restaurant china here.) It may not be up there for long as the building is fixed up, so if you want to see this slice of food history for yourself, go sooner than later.

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