Relive a piece of Chicago history on Saturday, June 13, the 79th anniversary of Eliot Ness' raid of Al Capone's illegal brewery at 2110 S. Wabash Ave. -- the very place where restaurateur Jerry Kleiner's Via Ventuno stands today.
Kleiner's "legal speakeasy" resides in Chicago's "Levee District," an area with a storied past where the city's infamous gangsters conducted their "business" (as in alcohol, prostitution and the like). The raid of Capone's stash that fateful day put Eliot Ness and his team of "Untouchables" firmly on the crime-fighting map; 200,000 barrels of beer were seized.
On Saturday, June 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., you can raise a glass to Chicago's rich past while toasting its future at a cocktail party of historic proportions.
Author Richard Lindberg will be on hand at Via Ventuno, sharing stories about the epic "Untouchables" raid as well as other tales from the Levee District. Kleiner will also lead guests through a secret escape tunnel used by Capone and his cronies, which he discovered while in the final phases of construction. He found a long-forgotten door hand-painted with "RM21," which inspired the name of Via Ventuno (21st Street in Italian). Kleiner's vision for the restaurant includes other witty references, as well, such as Via Ventuno's custom art piece created from an original 1930s street sweeper (in a nod to James Colosimo, one of the era's vice ringleaders and former head of the city Street Sweepers Union).
Via Ventuno executive chef Jim Kilberg will present complimentary appetizers during the event, and Eliot Ness Amber Lager from Great Lakes Brewing Company will be on offer for $5. There is no charge to attend, but RSVPs are recommended to 312-328-1198.