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November 26th, 2008

Cock Robin

It took a while but I’m finally writing a Ping on Cock Robin as promised in my Ping on Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Like YDD, Cock Robin was a local restaurant chain I remember distinctly from my youth. The location I went to the most was on Cermak just east of Home Avenue in Berwyn (and across the street from a bowling alley.) I remember the chain link fence with white and maroon inserts around the parking lot, and the small building that had old school drive-in lanes. The drive-in lanes weren’t used when I was a kid; undoubtedly they were in the past.

Cock Robin served burgers, hot dogs and the like along with shakes, malts, and ice cream. Food wasn’t quite prepared to order; rather, one would take a tray and move it down the line, taking burgers, fries, and onion rings from quick-serve slots and heat lamps. Despite this the food was pretty good – classic American stuff. But Cock Robin was known for its creamy, tasty ice cream.

The most unique thing? Square ice cream scoops.

I also remember the “One in a Million” malt (legendary) and trying endlessly as a kid to draw that Cock Robin logo by hand.

Cock Robin died pretty quickly in the 80s and limped into the 90s. The last two remaining locations were in Naperville and Brookfield. The Naperville location was razed in 2000 for a park. And there’s a stellar newspaper article on the Brookfield location that called the store an “institution” back in 2005. It closed permanently in 2007.

In addition to the aforelinked newspaper article, there’s some fantastic ads and memories at the blog Bright Lights Dim Beauty of Chicago. The comments are wonderful and helped me recall another Berwyn location on Ogden and Home. Good stuff. The ad scans are priceless.

Posted in Childhood Memories

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