Waking up this morning, I noticed the sunshine and realized that tomorrow marks the end of April and hopefully a turn from what seems like this never ending rain! Turing on the tv to watch the morning news, I was surrounded with images and headlines from the Royal Wedding. As May grows closer and history is made with the wedding, I am reminded (as I am often am) of my great grandfather, Herman Berghoff, and his historical roots in Chicago.
I am constantly reinventing in the kitchen, but reinventing in the business world is something I learned from my great grandfather Herman. He was a man whose resourcefulness and problem solving skills gave him the nickname “Marketing Meister”. His involvement and persistence in the World’s Columbian Exposition is the perfect example of this. Also known as The Chicago World’s Fair, which opened to the public May 1, 1893, brought more than 27 million people and countless cultures from all around the world to the city of Chicago. Herman knew this would be the perfect venue to market and sell his beer. When he was unable to get a license to sell his beer on the fairgrounds, he set up a stand outside and sold it there from May until the Fair closed in October.
Herman was again denied a wholesale license shortly after The Chicago World’s Fair, but used his resourcefulness in getting a retail license and opening the Berghoff Café. As the years passed and Prohibition came to Chicago, Herman once again reinvented his business by expanding the Café to a full service Restaurant. One of the original dishes on the menu was something that Herman first tried in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition; Chili con Carne. Taking a tip from my great grandfather, I reuse this still popular dish on our Berghoff Nachos today. And because beer is where it all started…what goes better with beer, then Berghoff Nachos? Here’s to my great grandfather Herman, a cold beer, history, and spring finally being here. Cheers!