Blackhawk Restaurant’s history celebrated in library collection

Blackhawk Restaurant

Menu from the Blackhawk Restaurant.

The nine-decade history of the Blackhawk Restaurant business and its visionary father and son owners, Otto and Don Roth, are the subject of an exhibit at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Richard J. Daley Library, which will kick off with an opening celebration.


Opening celebration – May 10
5 – 7 p.m.


UIC Richard J. Daley Library
Special Collections and University Archives
801 S. Morgan St., 3rd floor


From Dec. 27, 1920, when it first opened its doors at 129 N. Wabash Ave. in the Loop until New Year’s Eve in 2009, when Don Roth’s wife Ann closed the last restaurant in Wheeling, the Roth restaurants helped usher in many firsts for Chicago’s dining and entertainment scene.

The family of Don Roth, who died in 2003, permanently donated 60 linear feet of memorabilia including signed contracts by big-band leaders and other celebrities, photos, scrapbooks, recipes and decades of menus to the Special Collections and University Archives of the UIC Library.

While the exhibit will close at the end of year, the collection will be permanently available to historians and other members of the public who may want to view them as examples of how the family-owned business not only adapted to, but also helped influence 20th-century dining trends and business practices.

Refreshments will be served at the opening. The opening celebration is by invitation only, but is open to the media. For more information, call (312) 413-3265 or email

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