(Back to Illinois Haunted Index, Paranormal Chicago > Enjoy a Haunted Mansion)
Steak Joynt Building –
1610 North Wells
Chicago, Illinois 60614
This building can be found on N. Wells Street near the corner of W. North Street a main drag which runs east and west.
This Victorian-style, 3 story building was built in 1872, and shares a wall with the business on it's right side, Comedy Club Second City. On this location in the 1860s, where this building now stands; another ornate building, a large factory built by Henry Piper existed, which housed his business, Piper's bakery. This bakery was described as being a major source of bread for the region, as well as shipping across the United States.
When the great fire of 1871 roared through Chicago, Piper's bakery bread factory burned to the ground. Henry Piper rebuilt an even more beautiful building, inside and out, to house Piper's Bakery, whose right wall was attached to the shop next to it. On its left side, there was a winding alley next to Piper's Bakery, called Piper's Alley.
Finally, after 60 years of having a successful baking business, Henry Piper retired in the 1920s. However, the ornate decoration inside this beautiful building and its structural layout designed by Piper, attracted a variety of businesses throughout the 20th century, including a laundry and a hardware store. The hand-carved art decorum,the glorious woodwork, and sculptured baroque ceiling gave whatever business located there a most enjoyable ambiance.
In 1962, this beautiful building was bought by Billy Siegel and Raudell Perez, for their new restaurant and bar, That Steak Joynt. Billy Siegel and Raudell Perez, during their renovation and remodeling of the insides, kept the lovely decorum, adding to the art and beauty found inside. The original bakery case,which had been hand-carved from black walnut by artisans was turned into a bar. Siegel and Raudell Perez added a leaded glass window for its shelves, topped off with a marble statue of a happy peasant holding a wine container.
The restaurant had two floors connected by a Victorian-style staircase. There was a main dining room & bar area on the first floor, an upstairs dining room, and a smaller, lower level dining room. Throughout the restaurant, one would find many antiques, works of art, stained glass; all purchased from art dealers or from estates of homes in Chicago.
The result was a lovely upscale, white table cloth, eating establishment, very popular with the living, who were looking for a place for upscale dining or social drinking experience, with an old world, European, artisan feeling.
When Raudell Perez died, the building was eventually sold to The Adobo Grill in 2000, another upscale restaurant with a bar, which specializes in Mexican food. They remodeled and renovated the space, changing wall colors, giving it a more modern/ethic Mexican feel, adding Mexican art, and adornment, pleasing to its customers. They seem to follow in the footsteps of That Steak Joynt, offering great food and a pleasing, yet very different decorum and style.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Around the turn of the century, two people were murdered in two different instances in Piper's Alley, which existed there during the time, but has long since been gone, as there is another building in that spot today, next to That Steak Joynt Building.
There were many art items collected from various homes, buildings and mansions from all over Chicago, some of which might have a spirit or energy attached to it.
A known example: When the portraits of William and Katherine Devane were purchased and hung on the wall along the interior staircase, which leads up to the second floor, perhaps more than great art was brought into this establishment. The art dealer who had them reported that they had a creepy aura about them, claiming that the paintings brought him bad luck. The painting of Katherine fell on his foot in an unusual manner, which strengthened his resolve to either quickly sell these paintings or destroy them.
What happened in this building over the years is unknown, or who hung out here. Mean persons with nasty attitudes don't usually improve when they die and decide to haunt the living.
Other persons who enjoyed this restaurant and bar, or people with special attachments to this building may have wanted to retire here in their after-life, instead of crossing over.
Renovations and remodeling can stir things up in the paranormal world.
Auditory, Visual and tactile experiences.
During the 30 plus years when That Steak Joynt occupied this building, it was entity central, with many paranormal events witnessed by many witnesses, making it hard to keep employees, especially those who worked there before the place was open for business,during the late shift and/or after the restaurant & bar closed for the evening. Especially hard to keep were janitors and cleaning staff. The entities became more active, ready to party, getting their chuckles/venting their feelings at the expense of the staff.
Auditory Manifestations Included strange foot-steps, singing, unusual sounds, in rooms or places in the building where there was no one living around.
Women's bathroom: Witnesses in the stalls have heard the sound of women's shoes clicking across the floor and the rustle of long skirts. Of course, no one else was in the bathroom at the time.
Visual Manifestations The owner, Raudell Perez, customers and employees had seen shadowy figures, apparitions, strange lights, and others odd signs of the paranormal world.
After closing time, Raudell Perez saw what looked like two people go up the staircase together. He ran up the stair- case and caught them disappearing into thin air in the dining room.
The Bartender was adding up sales for the night, when he saw two yellow eyes staring at him.
Strange lights were seen around the women's bathroom.
Tactile Manifestations Felt in the staircase, second floor dining area, and foyer.
Witnesses had reported feeling a cold spot on the stairs, followed by a cold wind.
Customers and staff had reported that something unseen had touched them, or brushed past them.
In the women's rest room, the doors of the stalls have been known to be held shut from the outside by an outside power.
There were three not so nice, scary incidents from an entity who was probably a violent man with anger issues while alive.
When a staff member was locking up the front door at closing time, he felt a cold, unfriendly hand grab his shirt and pull him back. He turned around and no one was there.
Bartender verses the angry entity - A bartender was going up the staircase, when he suddenly felt a cold, hand roughly grip his shirt, trying to pull him over backward. He whirled around after gaining his balance to face his attacker to find no one living there.
A waitress was busy clearing the tables in the upstairs dining room, when an unseen, cold hand of a male presence grabbed her wrist so hard that it turned white. She felt herself being violently dragged toward the staircase by a force too strong to stop. She screamed and the manager and a busboy raced up the stairs to find the scared, shaken-up waitress, flat out on the floor with a broken high heel and a red mark of hand prints around her wrist. Red alert was called and the manager and staff immediately searched the place and found no one alive, lurking in the shadows.
During the 1980s, local medium Robert Dubeil held regular seances in That Steak Joynt, supposedly making contact with three entities, though he never was able to find out the reasons for the hauntings. Supposedly, he contacted the entities of the architect who designed the building, of a female valued customer of Piper's Bakery, and of an unknown male entity.
Billy Siegel's theory is that the female customer and the unknown male entity could be the spirits of the people killed/murdered in the alley so long ago. Perhaps the male entity wasn't exactly a choir boy in life, and had violent tendencies which got him killed eventually.
Billy Siegel and Raudell Perez invited the paranormal investigation team, The Ghost Research Society Group to come and investigate their establishment, That Steak Joynt. For both of the GRS investigations, the entities, followed their habits of becoming more active, not afraid of the paranormal investigators, and their equipment; though perhaps more reserved during the first investigation, than during the second investigation where the entities were more like themselves.
First Investigation: April 6th, 1991 - The GRS team was accompanied by Celeste Busk of the Chicago Sun-times; a gutsy, not easily scared reporter who stayed the whole night. Equipment & teams were set up in three areas: The main dining room & bar area, the upstairs dining room and the smaller lower-level dining room.
Many disturbances occurred, including: lights not made by anything in this world appearing, cold spots, strange magnetic readings picked up in the dining room, and psychic impressions from two team members near the happy peasant bust in the bar.
The Pictures developed from cameras proved to be revealing:
35 mm photos taken of the happy peasant later showed "strange FIGURES of bluish white lights" hanging around the peasant bust in the bar area.
Pictures taken from two different cameras in the upstairs dining room, caught an apparition described as monk-like, which showed his top half, his legs and feet, but no lower torso.
Second Investigation: April 14th 1994 - The GRS team brought along Janet Davies from Channel 7, ABC Eyewitness News, and the Joynt was jumpin'.
A dim apparition appeared in the dining room, sitting at a table on a chair. It disappeared when approached.
Caught on videotape: The door to the kitchen opened by itself, against the natural draft which flowed in this area.
Heard and recorded strange sounds, including: footsteps, one of a body being dragged across the floor and strange noises on the stairs. A camcorder mounted at the top of the stairs, recorded this "woman's moan, followed by a high-pitched squeal", and two "guttural growling" noises, which was also heard by the investigators, when it happened.
The scent of a burning odor, flowers reoccurred all night, and cold spots were felt.
Probably, unless a private exorcism or blessing was performed, or all the reasons that were drawing the entities to this building have been eliminated or taken out or lost in the remodeling; thus clearing out the host of presences.
The owners of Adobo Grill claim that they haven't experienced anything paranormal. They could be fibbing, or perhaps the entities are just being quiet at the moment, just observing the living. For 40 years before the opening of That Steak Joynt, paranormal activity was very quiet, if not non-existent. It was probably the remodeling and renovation efforts which contributed to kicking it all into high gear, not to mention bringing in art held valuable by other people, and being open at night, when entities like to be active. Most regular businesses close for the evening at some point.
This quiet period could last for years. In our The story of The Willard Library, the Lady in Gray had made her first appearance to the living not until the 1930s, a long time after her death. She was quiet for a number of decades after that first sighting, before deciding to be active again.
So being quiet doesn't mean that the entities have moved on. Time will tell.
prairieghosts.com * ghostresearch.org * adobogrill.com
GHOSTLORE OF THE WINDY CITY
by Ursula Bielski
Lake Claremont Press
THE NATIONAL DIRECTORY
by Dennis William Hauck