Golden Nugget Pancake House

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Golden Nugget Pancake House
Pancake house & Casual dining
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1966
Headquarters United States
Key people
Howard N. Quam

The Golden Nugget Pancake House is a chain of family restaurants originally launched in Florida but now operating exclusively in Chicago, Illinois. The restaurants serve breakfast 24 hours a day, and their decor generally has a Western motif.


The chain was founded by Howard N. Quam, a Chicago native, who served in the US Marines and then worked as a blackjack dealer at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. In the mid-1960s, Quam moved to Florida and opened his first restaurant, which he named in honor of the casino. He returned to Chicago in 1966 to open additional restaurants then moved back to Las Vegas in 1988, where he opened other restaurants. [1]

At present, there are seven Golden Nugget franchises in Chicago.[2] Many other local restaurants with "Golden" in their titles, such as the Golden Apple restaurant in Lakeview, and the now-closed Golden Angel restaurant in North Center, belonged to the Golden Nugget chain in the past.[3][4] Over the years, the so-called "Golden Empire" [5] has attracted a loyal and diverse clientele and has become a familiar part of the Chicago culture. In the 1970s, local writer Jon-Henri Damski described the Lincoln Park Golden Nugget as "the biggest chicken coop in the Midwest".[6] Later, Dodie Bellamy used a Golden Nugget as one of the settings in her 1984 short story "The Debbies I Have Known".[7]

In 2000, the Irving Park Golden Nugget became the site of a local scandal when a pair of police officers allegedly stopped at the restaurant for two hours while an intoxicated 56-year-old man waited in their police wagon. The man died of asphyxiation when he fell into an awkward position in the vehicle, and the Chicago City Council agreed to pay the victim's family $1.8 million.[8]

An unrelated Golden Nugget Pancake House has been operating in Dayton, Ohio, since the 1950s.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Howard N. Quam, restaurateur". Chicago Sun-Times. 22 September 1997. p. 39.
  2. ^,+IL&sa=X&oi=local&ct=title. Retrieved 14 October 2006.
  3. ^ Untitled advertisement. Chicago Tribune. 9 August 1971. p. B21.
  4. ^ Unititled advertisement. Chicago Tribune. 28 June 1973. p. B22.
  5. ^ Retrieved 14 October 2006.
  6. ^ qtd. in Pollack, Neal. "Queer Thinker". Chicago Reader. 4 July 1997. Section 1.
  7. ^ Bellamy, Dodie. "The Debbies I Have Known" Feminist Studies. Vol. 10, No. 2. (Summer, 1984), pp. 255-276.
  8. ^ Spielman, Fran. "City pays family in asphyxiation death". Chicago Sun-Times. 3 December 2002. p. 8
  9. ^ Ullmer, Katherine. "Golden Nugget picking up the pieces; Many connected to restaurant share memories". Dayton Daily News. 11 August 2005. p. Z6.

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