Gale Street Inn opened in 1963 in a small tavern near the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Gale Street, just across the street from its current location. The 20-table tavern wound up with lines out the door. The ribs proved so popular that when the city took the property in the summer of 1968 to build the Jefferson Park Transit Center, a local bank tried to block the purchasing the land where the Gale Street Inn now sits because of traffic concerns. The owners at the time used the name of Bob Beck, a bartender at the restaurant, “They purchased it in his name, and lo and behold, to the surprise of the neighborhood, Gale Street opened on that site.
In 1985 Harry Karzas, father of its current owner, George Karzas bought the restaurant. George Karzas, who had worked for Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melman, took it over in 1992 and worked to reposition the restaurant as a more upscale place. Gale Street’s famous ribs — slathered in a sweet peppery sauce and then oven-roasted until they melt off the bone — “still make up most of sales”, he says, “but we are proud of our entire menu, for an old school joint we like to stay tuned in to the current trends and cites the popularity of the daily fresh fish specials as well as the success of the new appetizer list being featured in the bar that includes spicy chicken quesadillas, pulled pork sliders and steamed mussels.”
Gale Street takes a lot of pride in their service and its people who all seem really happy to be working at this northwest icon. “My father taught me the art of hospitality and that the people who work with you are your family. Service is what you do to people and hospitality is what you do for people. We get where our bread is buttered and take nothing for granted. We are nothing without these wonderful families that have been supporting us for years and are at the core of our business; and now with the likes of check please and yelp and the other social medias we have a chance to show a whole new group that you don’t have to be downtown to have a darn good time.”
Live music happens during the week in the recently renovated bar, The Lenny Capp Trio plays on Monday nights from 6:30 to 10:00 along with the Monday Night Rib Special ($18.95) and Mark Madsen and his Gibson guitar swoons the happy hour crowd from 5:00 till 9:00 Tuesday thru Thursday. New hours include a Saturday and Sunday Brunch menu being served from 11:00 to 3:00 and a roving magician walks the dining room floors on Sunday afternoons from 4:00 to 8:00 turning tricks and making balloon animals for the kids.