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My Blog

Remembering Shanghai Lil's

Good morning to all.  Hump day has arrived once again.  The days are longer and longer.  The longest day of the year will soon be upon us.  It is so nice for it to still be somewhat light at 9 P.M..  
Well, today's blog is about a restaurant that is no longer in existence other than in our memories.  Well, at least in mine.  Shanghai Lil's was an amazing restaurant and entertainment house located on Milwaukee Ave in Chicago. 
Growing up, it was THE place to go for a special occasion.  From the food to the exotic named drinks to the amazing floor show.  It was one of the best places to go for just about any occasion.  It was a way to feel as though you had flown across the seas to a place of intrigue and mystery.  It had Cantonese and Polynesian cuisine that was amazing.  You received a lei when you were there, as well as little paper umbrella's on top of your drinks.  There was a floor show of Polynesian dancers that was always entertaining. 
I remember that it was always the place that we went to after proms.  I must say, I went to quite a few proms in my day, and it always ended at Shanghai Lil's.  I celebrated my 19th birthday there with some of my girl friends.  I remember back then the amazing drinks, but most of all, my favorite to order was the coconut ice cream served in a coconut. 
I remember that when my godchildren were of a certain age, I took them there for their birthdays.  They were both born on the same day and I wanted to take them out for a special evening.  I remember buying them a corsage and a boutonniere to make the night begin with a special feeling and then a trip to Shanghai Lil's.  I can still remember the look on their faces when the dancers came out on stage.  I don't know what it is about seeing such a performance, but I do know that you become somewhat hypnotized by it all. 
They have since torn down that amazing place and put up condo's there now.  What a shame. A few years ago, I went to an event held at a local college for Cultural Week.  They happened to have some wonderful Polynesian dancers there and I was able to get their business card.  They have opened up a restaurant in Des Plaines.  It is at Mannheim and Oakton.  The establishments name is the Tiki Hut.  It has great food and a great floor show.  If you remember Shanghai Lil's and want to reminisce a bit...this would be the place to go.  it is not on a grand scale like Shanghai Lil's was, but thoroughly an enjoyable place to frequent.  The food their is wonderful....especially their pork.  The show is well worth going to.  I believe the shows are only on the weekend though. 
We went with my Red Hat group to see the dancers and landed up seeing an Elvis impersonator instead....but even that was quite entertaining.  One Sunday, my husband and I went and they had Kareoke, so if you want to make sure to see the floor show, call for your reservations and check on the show. 
Nothing will ever replace Shanghai Lil's, however, for those of us fortunate enough to have made it part of our lives in the 60's and 70's....what a memory it was.  A trip to a tropical paradise without having to foot the heavy bill of airfare!

9 Comments to Remembering Shanghai Lil's:

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Rosita De La Rosa on Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:00 AM
Tonight I was sharing with my 27yr. daughter about this great one of kind dinning experience. Than I research on the internet and found your article. Yes, my boyfriend took me there as a surprise for my birthday, late 70's. The food, drinks and service was great. But the biggest surprise was the fabulous dancers. After that experience it became our favorite place for many occasions. Wishthey were still here.
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fdg on Wednesday, April 05, 2017 2:25 AM
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IT Jobs in Indore on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 2:23 AM
Thanks for the post.
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Julie Manuro on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 2:16 PM
My Mother and Father were in the group that performed here back in the day! Keli Manuro and my great uncle Chief Tavu'ui where the musicians/MC and my mother was a dancer. I have amazing photos from that time. :)
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Bill Wadington on Saturday, October 28, 2017 3:49 PM
I worked as a barboy at Shanghai Lil's when I was sixteen (1966); imagine that today! I still remember your great uncle's jokes and the Tahiti revue with the dancers. Quite exotic for a sixteen-year-old City kid at that time. It was also interesting watching people get drunk on those potent rum drinks as the night wore on. Every so often two waiters with trays of food would collide because of the swinging door into the kitchen. I wasn't quite sure what they shouted at each other, but I'm sure it wasn't polite. There was a beautiful parrot in the bar that the bartender supposedly taught to swear. Needless to say, he was fired. Lots of great memories from that place...

Angie Quintkko on Saturday, June 02, 2018 5:34 PM
My father played there Bob Bobby Pinesplle Quintello anyone have pics?

bestessaycompany.info on Thursday, October 12, 2017 6:27 AM
There are always some great days in ones life which he never forget on any cost and when he saw something relevant then lost in big thoughts. You share your great experience in Shanghai which spread smiles.
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Doug Sanders on Saturday, October 14, 2017 10:52 AM
Well.. We all miss good things which we had left in past. So always create good memories just like you miss that restaurant.
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MARY ROSA on Sunday, February 18, 2018 3:28 PM
i worked there for 15 years until it closed,wonderful owners and guests
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