Stanley’s Tavern

Review by: Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

Things are a little quiet here at Stanley’s after the lunch rush, so bartender Guy comes over to chat and do a little standup for the four of us. After every politically-incorrect joke, each one filthier than the last, he slaps Sue’s brother Dave’s back and exclaims, “What! Ya killin’ me!” We like Guy. After he leaves to tend to other matters, owner Wanda, well into her 80s, sidles over, rolls her eyes, and sighs, “He’s a pain that no pill can cure.”

Wanda’s father, Stanley Kurek, opened this Back of the Yards tavern in the 1920s, when the Union Stock Yards, the infamous meatpacking district (see Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle), were in full swing. There were literally hundreds of bars in this area once known as Whiskey Row to serve the thousands of poor immigrants who worked in the slaughterhouses. The stockyards closed in 1971 and is now an industrial park, and Stanley’s Tavern is the sole Whiskey Row survivor.

There’s no sign on Stanley’s. The only clue that this is a place open to the public might be a small beer sign in one window. But those in the know, mostly people from the neighborhood, arrive for lunch each day to enjoy whatever Wanda has prepared. It’s always a hearty workingman’s meat and vegetables meal, perhaps corned beef and cabbage or meatloaf or chicken, along with a soup or two, whatever Wanda feels like cooking that day. The cost is shockingly low. When the food runs out, it runs out, so arrive early unless you are in the mood for the always available burger, or kielbasa (terrific!). And remember to save up your raunchiest jokes for Guy.

What To Eat



Tuna Melt

Italian Beef

Steak Sandwich


Stanley’s Tavern Recipes


What do you think of Stanley’s Tavern?

One Response to “Stanley’s Tavern”

Janes D Warrington

April 27th, 2023

Stanleys is NO longer any where near excellent. It is not worth the detour because Kid Shelleen’s has opened up not more than 5 minutes away and it far surpasses Stanley’s skimpy wings and burgers in size and quality. Also Kid’s has a menu that offers better quality choices for a better price. Do yourself a favor and skip the outdated seating and go to the newly furnished KID’s and you’ll never go back to Stanley’s !


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