Snappy Service System
Snappy Service System
Posted by: jrothstein (
Date: March 14, 2013 07:06PM

I was walking home yesterday along Ashland a little south of Division and saw some workmen scraping the yellow paint off of the recently shuttered La Pasadita. This is what was underneath.

I've googled around and found just a couple of references to this old Hamburger chain, a couple on this forum. So I thought I'd post the pic here.

If anyone knows anything about this, I'd be curious to hear more.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: Bill_Baar (
Date: March 15, 2013 01:03PM

The Hamburger: A History by Josh Ozersky describes Snappy Service as a Missouri based White Castle imitator from the 30s.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: Hugh Manatee (
Date: March 15, 2013 02:34PM

It looks like an old White Castles. Note the White porcelain blocks. That was White Castle's trademark, and the price bach in the 50's was 5 cents ! Beautiful Find !

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: Hugh Manatee (
Date: March 15, 2013 02:42PM

Bill is probably right. There were a few imitators including George Web but I didn't remember Snappy.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: QlassiQue (
Date: March 16, 2013 01:19AM

What an awesome find! Great photo too. I was not familiar with this chain; thanks for posting it to the Forum.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: 222psm (
Date: March 16, 2013 09:43AM

Nice find! was not familiar with them.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: Rustymuscle (
Date: March 16, 2013 02:10PM


I shared your nice photo at the FC Facebook site...gave you credit! There were two other stores, one on Chicago, one on Western. Offices was on north Broadway. Interestingly, found no information about the Ashland site.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: BWChicago (
Date: March 18, 2013 08:35PM

The December 6, 1936 Tribune describes the signing of a 15-year lease for the Ashland location.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: amereimage (
Date: March 18, 2013 09:04PM

I was driving down Ashland Ave today and saw this place took a shot and googled Snappy Service System and found this forum. Nice shot Joel - much more interesting.

Found this on a collectors plate site

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age
[url=]Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automible Age[/url]

Page 111

Video Interview recollects Snappy Service's 5cent hamburgers
[url=]Video Interview[/url]

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: QlassiQue (
Date: March 21, 2013 06:08PM

The mystery of this long forgotten restaurant chain deepens. On March 20, the Forgotten Chicago research department went to the Newberry Library to go through Chicago white and yellow pages from 1925 to 1959, looking for “Snappy Service System” restaurant locations. The Snappy Service System restaurant recently revealed at 1141 North Ashland was curiously not listed in any of the phone books examined.

Following are the Snappy Service Systems restaurants listed from 1934 (the first time these restaurants are listed) until 1959 (the last phone books examined):

• 6340 North Ashland, 1934 through 1939; restaurant and general office
• 3229 North Ashland, 1935 only
• 3757 North Broadway, 1935 and 1936
• 57 West Chicago, 1935 and 1936
• 3309 North Ashland, 1936 only
• 21 South Ashland, 1936 and 1944 to 1946
• 1156 North Western, 1945 to 1959
• 1603 West Madison, 1947 to 1949
• 5605 West Chicago, 1948 to 1955
• 6351 North Western, 1948 only

If an individual restaurant did not have a phone, they would not be listed in an Illinois Bell phone directories. Also, there could be a chance that a franchise location may not be listed, or be in a different directory (the Newberry has a combination of white and yellow pages). The location at 21 South Ashland was curiously not listed from 1937 to 1943, although it may have closed and reopened.

Worth noting is the large number of businesses selling food that used “snappy” in the title. These include Snappy-Snack Hamburger Shop, Snappy Meat Service, Snappy Grill, Snappy Sandwich Shop, Snappy Snack Tap, Snapp’s Food Mart and Snap Snap Snack Shop. These locations are not listed above.

If anyone has more information on the history of this chain, please let us know

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: Mr Downtown (
Date: March 28, 2013 01:36AM

The chain is not mentioned in any of the standard three scholarly works on the rise of fast-food chains (Langdon, Liebs, or Jakle).

Ashland is one of the streets that was dramatically widened in the 1920s, and that left a lot of small parcels like the one holding the tiny hot dog stand and the northeast corner of Ashland & Chicago. The 1914 fire insurance maps show a small insubstantial store on this site, and not much would have been left after street widening took the front 17 feet.

Re: Snappy Service System
Posted by: Rustymuscle (
Date: March 28, 2013 12:30PM


My "research" department is in my loft...Illinois Bell directories, etc etc etc. I did a search through phone books for this same discussion over at the Forgotten Chicago Face Book site.

Next time, just ask, happy to travel "upstairs" to do the search!


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