Little Italy


"While there are several Italian-American communities that thrive" in Chicago, the one centered along Taylor Street, situated between Morgan and Ashland, "inherited the title of 'Little Italy.'" The neighborhood used to be larger, but like many of the other areas of the city effected by the construction of expressways, it lost a considerable chunk of land when the Eisenhower Expressway was built in the 1950s. It lost even more real estate when the University of Illinois-Chicago moved into the area in the 1960s, but the predominantly Italian character of the neighborhood remained strong. 

The neighborhood is more diverse nowadays–"Taylor Street now has an Irish pub and Japanese, Thai, Indian and Mexican restaurants"–but it is still shows signs that it was one of Chicago's original ports of entry for Italian immigrants throughout the late 1800s and a good portion of the 1900s. Little Italy has three historic Roman Catholic churches, as well as many Italian dining options. It is also home to statues of important Italians throughout history, the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, and one of my personal favorites, Mario's Italian Ice (get the watermelon flavor!).

Stephen ShanabruchCentral