Margie’s Candies is the name of two popular confectioneries on the north side of Chicago, Illinois. Owned by the same family, each one is part candy store and part sit-down ice cream parlor. The older of the two establishments has been operating at the same location for more than nine decades and is widely considered a “Chicago legend”.
The original Margie’s is located on Western Avenue in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Initially known as the Security Sweet Shop, it was founded in 1921 by a Greek immigrant named Peter George Poulos, who soon handed the business to his son George. Chicago mobster Al Capone allegedly patronized the sweet shop during its early years.
In 1933, George Poulos renamed the confectionery Margie’s Candies in honor of his wife, whom he had met at the sweet shop as a youngster. Margie herself began running the business during the 1940s while her husband was serving in the military, and she took full control in 1954 after her husband died of an ulcer. She never remarried, and for the next forty years, she regularly worked in the restaurant for about 15 hours a day, becoming a familiar sight for customers.
Margie’s cemented its place in Chicago lore in 1965 when it hosted the Beatles, who had just played a concert at Comiskey Park. According to the Poulos family, the band came into Margie’s with five girls and ordered several six-scoop “Atomic Sundaes” to share with them. The confectionery currently has a large display of Beatles memorabilia to commemorate the visit.
Margie’s gained additional attention in the early 1990s when Margie Poulos appeared in two thirty-second clips on MTV showcasing individuals with interesting occupations. These clips, which portrayed Margie as she made chocolates, were used to fill the time between commercials and music videos. Singer Liz Phair further popularized the confectionery in 1993 when she posed there for a photograph used in a Newsweek interview.
In 2005, the original Margie’s was mentioned in one of the riddles used for the OurColony Alternate reality game. The message read, “Here sweet Margie sits. At this difference it sees the rich, the poor and everything in between”. Successful players realized that the riddle referred to Western Avenue, a long street which runs through many diverse neighborhoods.
North Center Margie’s
Margie Poulos died in 1995, and her son Peter assumed control of the business. In 2005, he opened a second Margie’s Candies in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago, replacing a closed Fannie May shop. This was the business’s first foray into expansion.
- ”A Closer Look at Margie’s Candies”. The Chicagoist. http://www.chicagoist.com/archives/2004/06/16/a_closer_look_at_margies_candies.php Archived 2007-05-03 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 18 August 2006.
- Hoekstra, Dave “60 Years of Sweet Dreams at Margie’s”. Chicago Sun-Times. 12 February 1993. p. 7.
- Herrmann, Brenda. “MTV popped into Margie’s”. Chicago Tribune. 28 March 1991. p. 2.
- Giles, Jeff. “Sex and the Single Songwriter” Newsweek. 6 September 1993. p. 52.
- ”New Challenge (Here sweet Margie…)”. Xbox 360 and Xbox Forums. Retrieved 16 August 2006.
- Margie’s Candies in Chicago. Metromix. http://Metromix.chicagotribune.com/dining/71265,0,622225.venue Archived 2005-12-11 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 16 August 2006.