Billy Goat proprietor wants to stay put amid planned development

Billy Goat
Billy Goat

Everything changes eventually, but is there a good reason to kick out Sam Sianis from this location of the Billy Goat? Doubtful, just greedy real estate corporations…

No Pepsi. No fries. No desire to change things.

The Billy Goat Tavern has been a Chicago landmark for generations and a fixture underneath North Michigan Avenue for almost 50 years. And its owner wants to remain there, regardless of whatever redevelopment goes on above it.

Sam Sianis, who runs the tavern and is the nephew of the Billy Goat’s original owner, William Sianis, said Tuesday that he knew nothing of potential plans for a massive redevelopment disclosed Monday that would involve replacing the Realtor Building at 430 N. Michigan Ave. That project, on property located above the Goat, would at least temporarily displace the tavern from the subterranean location it has called home since 1964.

“I want to stay here,” Sianis said. “I’ve been here for almost 50 years. Like the Realtors, I’m part of Michigan Avenue.”

…”Nothing has changed since 1964,” Sianis said. “Nothing has changed from the time we opened up to now.”

Asked if he’d like a more modern, fancier new home as part of a new development, Sianis fell back on the cadence — No fries! Chips! No Pepsi! Coke! — immortalized by John Belushi in the “Saturday Night Live” skit that made the place famous.

“No fancy,” Sianis said. “I want it to be the same.”

Staying put wouldn’t be an option if the building above it is razed and redeveloped, but the National Association of Realtors thinks it has come up with the next best thing: Pick up the various pieces of the tavern, picture frame by picture frame and chair by chair, and move the Goat across the street.


(click here to continue reading Billy Goat proprietor wants to stay put amid planned development –

Moving to a location in the basement under the Wrigley Building would be ok, though I wonder how much the odor of the hamburgers, chips, Pepsi waft up to the floors above?

Billy Goat's Tavern & Grill
Billy Goat’s Tavern & Grill

Chuck Sudo of the Chicagoist describes the planned development thus:

An ambitious project to turn one of Michigan Avenue’s iconic buildings into a mixed-use “destination building” could have some short-term consequences for tourists and local media folk. The National Association of Realtors board unanimously approved a plan to raze its 13-story building at 430 N. Michigan Ave. and replace it with a new building including a high-end hotel, condominiums, office and retail space and an open plaza. The proposed new building would be mirrored after the NAR’s New York City-based project and could be as much as 93 stories high.

The NAR would also relocate its headquarters to Chicago which the Emanuel administration would surely tout in a press release as another sign the mayor is bringing jobs to Chicago if this project gets the green light. The NAR has an unnamed partner in the project. Pamela Monroe, chair of NAR’s Real Property Operations Committee, would only say the group is “a world-class partner with premium credentials” that is “very private” and “extremely well-capitalized.” The Realtor building is one of the few properties remaining on North Michigan Avenue that hasn’t been developed in recent years and the NAR bought the building behind it that houses 437 Rush restaurant.

(click here to continue reading Michigan Avenue Development Project Could Displace Billy Goat Tavern For A Spell: Chicagoist.)

Billy Goat Tavern Est 1934
Billy Goat Tavern Est 1934

I wonder if the “hex” on the Chicago Cubs would be broken if the Billy Goat was forced to move?

The Goat’s role in Chicago as a well-known bar goes back generations. It has been a hangout for journalists for decades and earned headlines regularly through owner William Sianis, an impresario as well as barkeeper. He’s the one who placed a hex on the Chicago Cubs in 1945 after his pet goat was kicked out of Wrigley Field during the World Series.

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