We at Bishop's chili feel that the best way
to start your visit is to give you a little background information
on ourselves. So, here it is THE REAL HISTORY OF BISHOP'S
CHILI as told by the 4th generation granddaughter (I wouldn't
suggest arguing with her about this one).
Back in 1925, when Mary Bishop began her career as a chili
cook, her bosses at Ole's Chili didn't agree withchanging
of their recipe and they fired her. Having no other way to
support herself, Mrs. Bishop (Bishop was her 4th husbands
name) moved down the block from her prior place of employment,
to 18th and Damen Streets on Chicago's west side, and opened
her namesake restaurant, Bishop's Chili. (We're not quite
sure where the famous part came in, but since she was a four
time widow, no one was very quick to ask questions or offer
criticism). Apparently, the famous part was a good omen, as
her business took off, her son George Koritzke joined her,
and together they formed a "Chili Dynasty". (Well,
"Dynasty" may be a bit strong, but its my family
story to tell and I can take liberties). Sadly, (but truly)
Mary Bishop passed away and (hopefully) went to family owned
restaurant heaven, where she has reliable, trustworthy and
loyal employees, for eternity.
Her son George, was a shrewd business man and saw the opportunities
available in the western suburbs of Chicago, namely Forest
Park, IL and opened the second Bishop's Chili in 1950. (Alright,
maybe it was sheer laziness that brought him to the second
location, since he lived in the area and didn't want to commute).
George Koritzke and his wife Helen were smart enough to have
two daughters, Aileen and Patricia, and the daughters were
smart enough to mary two men, Joe and Jerry, who wanted to
take over Bishop's Chili legacy.
They worked together to open the 3rd Bishop's Chili in Westmont,
IL in 1973. Unfortunately, the family owned restaurant business
is not immune to change. The Forest Park store relocated to
N. Riverside in 1998 and just recently, March 2003, decided
to hang up their chili ladle and retire.
Now dry your tears. The Bishop's Chili in Westmont is still
cooking up a storm. I hope to be here for many more years,
with many more stories of chili and tradition. I sincerely
thank you, our loyal customers, who have followed Bishop's
in an almost "cult-like" fashion for almost 80 years.
Without you, none of this would be possible. Well, that's
my story and I'm sticking to it.
Mary Ellen Hope
Great Granddaughter of Grandma Bishop