Greektown is part of the Near West Side community, made up of several neighborhoods. The area is bounded on the north by Lake Street, on the south by Congress Parkway, on the east by the Kennedy Expressway and on the west by Racine Avenue.
Greektown, a Chicago Neighborhood Visitor Guide from Chicago Traveler
Greektown, a Chicago Neighborhood Guide
by Zahra Ink - Chicago Writing Services
Greektown Colloseum Chicago IL
The first Greeks to inhabit Chicago came by ship in the 1840’s. They worked hard to establish themselves upon landing in Chicago and eventually many of them became restaurant owners. This fledgling community was originally concentrated around Harrison, Blue Island and Halsted. Since the majority of this population was Greek, the area quickly became known as Greektown.
In the 1960’s Chicago saw development on the West Side; the Eisenhower Expressway was built, as well as the University of Illinois at Chicago. Thus the Greek community was forced to relocate a few blocks away. They settled in what is now known as modern Greektown. Although the Greek community was established by this time, it wasn’t until the first gyros in America were made in Greektown in 1968 that the Greeks began to have notoriety in Chicago. The instant gyros were introduced, they became wildly popular.
Using this success as a starting point, Chicago’s Greek community began to celebrate its heritage more boldly. Over the next two decades, the number of restaurants and small businesses grew dramatically and Greektown became the most popular destination for Greek cuisine. The Taste of Greece and several parades were instituted as annual celebrations during this time as well. In 1996 the City of Chicago funded street renovations and the building of traditional Greek pavilions at various points in the neighborhood. Today’s Greektown proudly displays its heritage and enthusiastically shares it with every visitor.