Our Story

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Our Restaurant

Located in an historic Old Town building that dates back to 1881, Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern® is one of the oldest restaurants in the city of Chicago. Since its founding in 1932, Twin Anchors has always been known for great, tender, barbequed baby-back ribs that can be enjoyed in a quaint neighborhood tavern.

Research shows that as far back as 1910, there was a tavern operating in this spot. Sometime during World War I, the Schlitz Brewing Company donated the bar that remains in use to this day. Notoriously, during Prohibition a speakeasy known as “Tante Lee Soft Drinks” provided refreshments for the “thirsty” in this location. The Walters family, along with Captain Herb Eldean, were the original operators of the Twin Anchors, and provided the barbecued ribs recipe and nautical name, respectively.

Old Twin anchors

Sometime in the early 1950’s, Frank Sinatra made his first visit to Twin Anchors. Over the decades, Frank continued to make Twin Anchors one of his favorite stops, and the tales abound. One visit in the 70’s was described this way: “Sinatra entertained a large group of friends at the rib joint Twin Anchors last night. The guest list included Jilly Rizzo, football great Sid Luckman, Frank’s girlfriend Barbara Marx, comedian Pat Henry, composer Don Costa, pal Joey Bishop and agent Mickey Houston. Frank’s order was ‘Ribs, and keep ‘em coming!’ As usual, one of Mr. Sinatra’s bodyguards was posted at the pay phone preventing patrons from making calls that would cause a mob scene. Sinatra was very gracious about signing autographs, and was extremely generous with tipping everyone working his table $100 each.” In 1982, Twin Anchors was thrilled to bring Frank and his orchestra ribs to enjoy before their ChicagoFest concert at Navy Pier.

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Twin Anchors has received much publicity over the decades, appearing in numerous publications including, GQ Magazine, The London Times, Fortune Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Gourmet Magazine, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, and even, The Idaho Statesman. It has been featured in many international travel guides, including several mentions in the Michelin Guide, as a “must visit” when in Chicago. Twin Anchors was even the setting for two sketches in the 2009 Second City production, Studs Terkel: Not Working. Add in numerous television and radio features, including a mention in an episode of the NBC comedy Just Shoot Me, it becomes clear that this little neighborhood place has developed a remarkable, loyal following over its 90 years!

Twin Anchors has been featured in the filming of two major motion pictures. The 1999 film, Return to Me, directed by long time friend and customer Bonnie Hunt, exposed many new patrons to the charm of this small corner restaurant which seems timeless. In 2008, The Dark Knight featured a scene in which Harvey Dent, a.k.a. Two Face, makes an appearance and has a conversation that ends badly for a corrupt detective. Twin Anchors was privileged to host Conan O’Brien on several occasions, and we were thrilled that he named us one of his 10 “Must Haves” in Entertainment Weekly. Enjoyed by numerous sports, entertainment, and public figures, as well as generations of loyal Chicagoans, and fans worldwide, Twin Anchors never loses its old-time feel.

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As only the third family to own Twin Anchors, the Tuzi family has been involved for over 44 years. The partners, siblings Gina Manrique, Mary Kay Tuzi and Paul Tuzi keep the tradition alive. Paul states, “We aren’t just running a restaurant. Every night, we are throwing a party for 300 people in a living museum! That is what makes it such a pleasure.”

We welcome you to dine in, enjoy our outdoor cafe, bring home some carry-out or have our food delivered by one of several delivery services. No matter if this is your first visit or you’ve made too many to count, we thank you. We pledge to always be here for you when you need a cold beer, a delicious slab of ribs and a true Chicago experience.

But remember, “Positively No Dancing!”®

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