They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. If that be the case, then for years men have been drawn to Whiting.
As far back as 1894 with Smith and Bader's, and the Little Restaurant in the Putnam building in 1896, Whiting has been known for its restaurants, from fancy dining to burger joints.
In 1906, The Lake Shore Buffet advertised that they had added a piano to "give the boys a tune" while they ate. In the 1920's, William's Restaurant knew the importance of advertisement when it mentioned "flowers for the lady" when dining at their establishment.
Whiting's restaurant history is linked with its lake shore. Many restaurants started out as simple fish stands, but grew to be more sophisticated. The White House was the first big fish restaurant at Five Points, but it burnt to the ground in 1910. Other fish specialty places included Berg's Fish House, Lundgren's, Levent's, and, of course, the ultimate Prince of Perch, Phil Smidt himself.
Family-owned restaurants such as Vogel's and Smidt's were more like supper clubs and were the place to go, all dressed up for Sundays and special occasions.
If Italian fare is what you liked, you'd go to Spiccia's. And if you didn't want to get out of your car, your food came to you via carhops at Art's Drive-In.
Every high school group had its hangout. The generation before me had The Chocolate Shop and Miner Dunn (yes, there really was a Miner Dunn in Whiting!). My generation had Ralph's Restaurant or the soda fountains at Central Drug Store and Newberry's.
While all those restaurants are now just a part of our dining history, restaurants like Up for Grabs, Keith's, Sunrise Restaurant, Purple Steer, and Winey Beach Cafe have been staples now for quite awhile.
And I can remember the huge excitement when Whiting finally got our own McDonald's and later, a Burger King, and I bet there was nary a kid who didn't have a birthday party there in the early 1980's.
In the last few years, Whiting has been graced with even more restaurants. The Bulldog Brewery here on 119th Street is an example, not only as a restaurant but boasting a microbrewery as well.
Sophisticated fare, along with tater tots, is served at Griller's. Joining the ranks of 119th Street restaurants is Skeeter's Diner, a throw back in decor to the 1950's with jukebox and all, and is a fun place to eat.
Of course, we have wonderful pizza places, many of which have been here for years, such as Dino's, with the best taco pizza in the world. Recently, Beggar's Pizza has opened in the old Capitol Theatre building. Jim Eder and his sons, Ryan and Jon, have turned the old building into a beautiful restaurant for Whiting residents and their neighbors to enjoy.
But of course, to most of us, White Castle is THE Whiting food palace. Without it, how would people know where to turn off Indianapolis Boulevard to find us?