Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage in Chicago, the legendary fondue and lovers’ landmark, will celebrate its 49th anniversary with a series of special events the week of Sunday, June 29, through Friday, July 4. In addition to offering its traditional anniversary discount of 49 percent off all food bills during the six-day anniversary celebration, Geja’s will also host its fifth annual recipe contest and fourth annual poetry challenge.
This year, Geja’s will honor its 49th year with poetry by inviting its devoted diners to compose original poetry about Geja’s and what it has meant to them over the years. Poetry submissions will be accepted between Monday, June 2, and Sunday, June 22. The poetry may be posted on Geja’s Café’s Facebook page. Geja’s team will then select from the top three poems and announce the winners just prior to the anniversary kick off week. The first place prize will include a dinner for six with premium wines selected by Geja’s Café’s Kirby Matthews, general manager.
Geja’s also invites all aspiring fondue foodies to submit an original dipping sauce recipe to accompany Geja’s meats and seafood entrée. To enter, contestants should send their recipe and explain why the sauce should be served on Geja’s Café’s entrée platter. The winning recipe, in addition to being featured at Geja’s during the anniversary week, will also win a dinner for 6 with selected fine wines. Recipes must be submitted between Monday, June 2, and Sunday, June 22.
Geja’s has been the site of 137,963 first dates and 16,254 engagements, and diners have enjoyed more than 312 tons of cheese fondue and over 933,100 bottles of wine over its forty-nine year existence. John Davis founded Geja's Café in 1965 on Wells Street in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. For six years, Geja's operated in that location, serving as a Bohemian enclave for artists and writers. In 1969, Davis began the Geja's Wine Society, one of the nation's oldest tasting groups, and the restaurant began to be known as Chicago's first wine bar.
In need of additional seating, Davis relocated Geja's to its current Armitage Avenue location in 1971, where the restaurant continues to thrive. The original 1965 bar and many of the fixtures are still a part of Geja's charming atmosphere. Today, Geja's Cafe continues to be voted "Chicago's Most Romantic Restaurant" by numerous local and national publications. In 1993, CNN featured Geja's as the "Best Fondue Dining" in North America. In 2008, Food Network Channel featured Geja’s as the Ultimate Romantic Dipping Place in North America and in 2010 Geja’s was named one of America’s 50 Most Romantic Restaurants by OpenTable.
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