Artist Carlo Beninati
presents the painting,
"Chez Paul" to Bill Contos
Bill Contos' continental restaurant Chez Paul was established by his father, Papa Paul, on Delaware Avenue off Michigan Boulevard in 1945. Bill moved it to the McCormick mansion on Rush Street in 1964 after he had lovingly restored the landmark building.
Built in 1875, four years after the Great Chicago Fire, the house is a classic example of the manorial grace of that era. It served as the private residence of Robert Hall McCormick of the
reaper family during the years he served as U.S. Ambassador to Italy. The marble steps and pillars were quarried in Italy and Africa.
The gold mirror and marble mantelpiece in the Louis Room were presented to the Ambassador by Victor Emannuel III, King of Italy.
During the romantic years at the turn-of-the-century a great many of Europe's royalty visited Chicago and were entertained here. The ballroom on the top floor still echoes with nostalgic tunes from Strauss.
Bill Contos has spent a busy lifetime mastering all aspects of the restaurateur's skill-from the kitchen to service, from stocking the wine cellar to greeting thousands of patrons, "WELCOME HOME!"
The Beninati painting, "Chez Paul" is a gift to Bill from his devoted friends.