The GRS was the first and only research team to ever investigate this establishment!
That Steak Joynt formerly at 1610 N. Wells was the only Victorian restaurant of it's kind in Chicago. Once a Piper Bakery and partially damaged during the great Chicago fire of 1871 it was once located in the Old Town section of Chicago in Piper's Alley and right next door to Second City.
Once owned by Billy Siegel and run by Raudel Perez, it was haunted by many ghosts. Regular sťances were often held upstairs in one of the dining rooms by notable psychics and celebrities including Mrs. Jack Brickhouse. Some of the activity in the building included shadowy figures, movement of objects, strange sounds and cold drafts. The management had a problem keeping night help because many of the cleaning crew complained of singing, voices and dark figures throughout the building.
The interior of the building was spectacular. The most spectacular of the original pieces created for the Piper Bakery over a century ago is the bakery display case which served as a back bar. In the center section sat a Carrara marble statue of a smiling peasant with a wine flask, a relic from the Matson Steamship Line. Some say if you stare at it too long, it's features will come to life. Suspended over the bar was a 300 pound German silver candle and gas fixture which once hung over a billiard table in Scotland's Peale Castle. On the wall opposite the staircase was a 600 pound Second Empire Viennese mirror from the Thorne Estate.
Two unusual portraits once hung in the interior staircase leading up to the second floor. They depicted William and Katherine Devane, milk merchants from the early history of Chicago which were purchased by Warren Black, interior decorator for That Steak Joynt, from Victorian House Antiques, formerly at 806 W. Belmont in Chicago. The owner of the antique shop at the time was Al Morlock. He complained of having bad luck ever since he acquired the portraits and claims that the woman's portrait came crashing down one day, breaking his toe. He vowed to either sell them or he was going to destroy them. The woman's picture always "gave him the creeps". He was eventually approached by Warren Black who purchased the portraits for the restaurant and there they hung until the restaurant closed. It was along the wall and staircase leading to the second floor where many people would feel a cold spot; a sudden rush of wind for no particular source.
A waitress one evening, while busing tables in the uppermost dining room suddenly had the sensation that something or someone grabbed hold of wrist in a violent fashion; something or someone unseen to the woman. She began screaming at the top of her lungs. The manager and a busboy came running upstairs to see what the commotion was and there they found the waitress on the floor with one of her high heels broken and red marks on her wrist that resembled hand prints. They made a thorough search of the area but found absolutely nothing. She, by the way, quit that evening, vowing never to return.Members of the Ghost Research Society were allowed on two occasions to stay the overnight to conduct an investigation into the alleged hauntings. The first such investigation was held on April 6, 1991 and was covered by Celeste Busk of the Chicago Sun-Times who stayed along the entire night with us. The team included Dale Kaczmarek, Howard Heim, Joe & Rosalie Pavon, Andy Jarett, Mike Shannon, Julie Greenholdt, Joann Heim, Jana Norwine and Bill & Rochelle Zaszczurynski.
The restaurant was divided into three outposts: the main dining room and bar area, the upstairs dining room and the smaller lower-level dining room. There were many disturbances throughout the evening including lights seen by researchers, strange magnetic readings in the northwest corner of the main dining room and psychic impressions by both Jarett and Norwine near a bust behind the bar which was later confirmed on 35mm pictures as strange figures of bluish-white lights. Additional occurrences included cold spots near a statue of a naked lady.
The second and last investigation was scheduled on April 9, 1994 and the team consisted of Dale Kaczmarek, Greg & Linda Gracz, Barbara Huyser, Donna Boonstra, Greg & Illona Nykaza, Denise Lewis, Sara Fieberg, Tom Baker, Stan Suho and covering the team that evening was Janet Davies from Channel 7, ABC Eyewitness News.
Throughout the evening, many eventful observations were noted including: a door to the kitchen swinging open by itself against the normal wind flow of the restaurant, a strange figure was observed by several members just before the start of the investigation, cold spots and compass deviations on several occasions, a burning odor, a floral scent of flowers, footsteps and creaking noises, a camcorder mounted on the top of the stairs near the portraits recorded a female moan followed by a high-pitched squeal and two guttural growling sounds that on replay almost sound synthesized in some fashion, and other strange sounds. So it would appear that the second investigation was a bit more interesting than the first.
Soon after the death of Raudell Perez, the restaurant was closed and later remodeled and reopened as Adobo Grill. I wonder if the new owners know of the past history of the building?
Video Evidence Collected:
Footage of the interior staircase looking down and past the two famous portraits of the Devane's where cold spots have been reported in the past. Captured on an old bulky VHS Zero lux camcorder. You will hear a high-pitched screech, followed by a guttural; almost mechanical sound which could be explained. Strange sound
Early infrared video footage of the lower dining room taken by Greg Gracz after hearing the kitchen door swing open by itself against the wind flow of the room. Door open
Interview of Andy Jarrett and Jana Norwine during the investigation while inspecting the bust of the peasant behind the bar.
Interview of Rosalie Pavon at the Oak Lawn Public Library after a Bi-Monthly meeting as to her feelings and impressions.
Interview of Michael Shannon during the investigation as to his encounters.
Interview of Joanne Heim during the investigation as to her encounters.
Walkthrough of the area around the portraits of William and Katherine Devine near the staircase.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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