Thu. 10:02pm: Coming Friday, the strip remembered

Coming in Friday’s features…

There was a time when going out to dinner was an occasion. Nothing defined the true meaning of splendor to the palate more than the many independently owned restaurants that were included in the eclectic patchwork that made up the U.S. Route 422 Strip stretching across Niles and Warren.

Anthony Cafaro Sr. said he remembers Cherry’s Top of The Mall in its heyday. Cherry’s opened its doors in the early 1970s, a few years after the Eastwood Mall’s ribbon-cutting in September 1969.

“The strip was made famous because of the number of quality restaurants. Cherry’s Top of The Mall was first class in every respect,” Cafaro said. ”It had excellent decor and ambiance and it was unlike any other restaurant between New York and Chicago.”

To complete the elegant experience, Cherry’s Top of The Mall brought in some acclaimed musical entertainment, including the popular recording artist Louis Prima.

Ken Haidaris said the Living Room Restaurant was his favorite place to eat.

Relive memories of the dining and nightclubs along the strip in Friday’s Tribune Chronicle.