Lunch at a Chicago Legend-Billy Goat Tavern


  Deep down under Michigan Avenue and its stores, is a burger joint. But this isn’t just any burger joint, it is a place where Chicago journalists debated over brewskis the issues of the day, it is a place where tourists can grab a snack, and most of all , it is place that has been immortalized in pop culture, is the Billy Goat Tavern.

To see it from the outside, it looks like any beer joint. Walk inside and you are surrounded by almost seventy years of Chicago history.  But that isn’t the main attraction here. People have come from all over the world to eat the food .  They have also come to hear the famous cry. “Cheezborgher!” Actually, the Billy Goat has two stories, one involving a goat and the other involving a skit made famous on late night television.

Buying the former Lincoln Tavern, William Bill Sianis opened the Billy Goat Tavern. Originally located near United Center, it was a place where sports fans could enjoy food and a game.  But here is where Sianis, became a legend. In 1945, he bought two tickets for the World Series, one for him and one for his goat. Ushers wouldn’t let in the goat, so Sianis cursed the Cubs by exclaiming that as long as the goat couldn’t come in, the Cubs would never take the Series. It rings true to this day.  (When they finally do win,  it will be the end of time LOL)

The other legend to come out of the Billy Goat is that the Chicago establishment will forever be immortalized thanks to a writer in the early days of “Saturday Night Live”  Don Novello, was a copywriter for an ad agency here in town. Looking for a funny skit, he remembered the cooks and owner of the Billy Goat.  He wrote the skit where the cooks scream “Cheezborgher, cheezborgher, cheeps, ” The late John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, and Bill Murray appeared in the skit.  Murray returns to this day to enjoy the food and atmosphere.

As a fan of the early days of SNL, I was excited to try the food.  I love a good burger, and for the simplicity of it, the double cheese was the one to try.  It was beefy and juicy, a joy to eat.  Whatever you put on it, however fancy you make it , it is still a burger.  At Billy Goat, the burger is the star.  Add to it a bag of chips and either a beer or Coke. (No Pepsi, Coke!)  Now you have a meal. Even with all of its notoriety, the world famous double cheese costs no more than a burger at McDonalds. And it tastes better!!

Of course, we couldn’t leave the Billy Goat with out a souvenir from the gift shop.  Paul Sianis generously provided us with a t shirt that I will treasure. Maybe Ackroyd or Murray will get to see it some day.  The Billy Goat has eight locations in the city and elsewhere. From Navy Pier, Merchandise Mart, and Terminal One at O Hare, you can always satisfy that craving for a cheezborgher.  For authentic Chicago, you can’t do better than this.

IMG_20131217_130835 Here it is the double cheezbourgher at Billy Goat… tasty and juicy

CAM00873Here is the wall of fame of famous Chicago journalists who have argued politics over burgers and brews

IMAG0804 Sam sure had some great stories to tell about the history of the Billy Goat. He even took time out to pose for a picture

cheezborgher Here is the famous skit from SNL circa 1978.  Belushi and Murray were quite familiar with the Billy Goat from their Second City days.

IMG_20131217_144252 Here is our souvenir for our collection of restaurant shirts.. The Billy Goat Tavern



About chitownstarconnections

Melanie Christy is am actress/singer who came to Chicago to pursue her dreams of acting. Coming from a small town in Ohio she has been enjoying the things that city life has to offer like great cuisine from all parts of the globe, parties with great people including celebrities, gorgeous fashions and of course fun! Follow her, read her blog and learn about all the amazing adventures you can be a part of throughout Chicagoland! Jennifer Hedrick is the photographer and techie for our blogs. She was born and raised here in Chicago. Her love of photography started when she was a child. She has photographed many celebs, events, fashion shows and more. She also considers herself a bit of a foodie and loves food porn. Her other loves include her nieces and nephews, animals and the shows Castle, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.
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