The Fireside Restaurant is housed in a building which has had a continuous history of operations as a restaurant and saloon since 1904. The original owner, Peter Eberhardt, opened for business on Front Street (now Ravenswood) and operated until 1943. The wooden buildings were constructed separately with narrow board siding. The breezeway between eventually became the entrance. More recently, the exterior has been stuccoed and given a Tudor style. Early photos show an unpaved street and, prior to 1906, the Chicago and North Western tracks at ground level. The elevation of the tracks changed the view from the front windows to a hill of prairie grass and scrub trees. The street was eventually paved with bricks and a trolley terminated just before the Rosehill Cemetery East Gate. The trolley was replaced by the Damen Avenue bus.
The restaurant and saloon provided a service and a place of respite for those who had business at the Cemetery. Before the prevalence of the automobile, an excursion to Rosehill involved most of a day. Transportation by train to the gate and visiting a gravesite consumed more time than today. A midday meal was required and the location of the restaurant was most convenient. But for the local community, it must have been more of an evening gathering place.
Many truck farms and greenhouses continued to operate to the north of the area, west along Peterson and southwest of the Cemetery. To the south and east, building of homes, two-flats and apartments brought many in the trades to the area. Those who farmed the land were loosing ground to development and housing and one wonders what deals were made at the tables in this convenient meeting place.
In 1943, Peter Eberhardt sold the business to the McLaughlin family, who operated it until 1971, at which time Joe Linoinni became the owner. In 1983, Maggie Harper took over until 1989. In 1989, Larry Staggs and Rich Wohn revitalized the restaurant with an expanded menu and amenities such as the delightful outdoor patio. The Fireside has graciously offered refreshments for our tour today. We hope you will stop and enjoy a meal sometime at one of our favorite places in Edgewater.