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It’s True! Chicago Greeks are Sweet as Candy

by Maria A. Karamitsos   ·  2 years ago   ·  

Chicago Greeks—and other Greek-Americans as well—have a sweet legacy. Several books chronicle this tasty history. Keep reading to learn more.

Chicago Greeks’ Sweet Legacy

Over the years, Chicago—and other parts of the US—has been home to many notable candy makers. While many Greek immigrants found work in diners feeding their communities, others went the sweet route. From candy stores to full-fledged bakeries, Greeks made their name in the candy business. You can bet your sweet tooth on it! Surely, you’ve heard of Dove Chocolates (creators of the Dove Bar) and Cupid Candies. But Greeks all over Chicagoland opened candy stores and bakeries.

Did you know that The Delta, Chicago’s original Greektown, was home to more than 6 pastry and candy shops?

Yes, Chicago Greeks have a sweet history, satisfying sweet tooths for more than 100 years! And with all the other Chicagoans in the candy business, it’s no surprise that the National Confectioners Association was born here in Chicago.

FUN FACT: For a time, the NCA managing director and association president was Themi Vasils, a retired Chicago Greek journalist and author who was among the founding mothers/fathers of the National Hellenic Museum, for which she served as a trustee for more than 20 years, including a term as president of their board of directors.

Maria A. Karamitsos is an Amazon affiliate. As an Amazon affiliate, she earns money from qualifying purchases. By clicking through the links, when you make a purchase, she will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It helps to support her writerly endeavors Thank you!

Books on Chicago Greeks in the Sweet Biz

Chicago Greeks’ sweet legacy is chronicled in several books. These books will activate your sweet tooth for sure. Check them out!

Chicago Greeks Sweet Greeks by Ann Flesor Beck
Chicago Greeks–and other Heartland Greeks–are sweet!

Sweet Greeks: First Generation Immigrant Confectioners in the Heartland by Ann Flesor Beck

University of Illinois Press, 2020

The story of how Greeks became candy makers. Includes history of Gus Flesor, the author’s grandfather, an early candymaker/entrepreneur.

Learn about early Chicago Greek sweet entrepreneurs in 'The Entrepreneurial Spirt of the The Greek Immigrant in Chicago, Illinois: 1900-1930' by Alexander Rassogianis
Learn about early Chicago Greek entrepreneurs in this book by Alexander Rassogianis

The Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Greek Immigrant in Chicago, Illinois: 1900-1930 by Alexander Rassogianis

iUniverse, 2015

Chronicles the entrepreneurial activities of early Greek immigrants in Chicago, including candy and pastry shop owners.

Chicagos Sweet Candy History by Leslie Goddard includes some Chicago Greeks
Chicago Greeks–and others–are sweet!

Chicago’s Sweet Candy History (Images of America series) by Leslie Goddard

Arcadia Publishing, 2012

Examines Chicago candy history, including some Chicago Greeks, as it became home to some of the biggest names in the business.

Greektown Chicago Its History Its Recipes by Alexa Ganakos includes stories about sweet Chicago Greeks
From early days of Chicago’s original Greektown to modern times, there’s lots of great history in here, including Sweet Chicago Greeks!

Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes by Alexa Ganakos

G. Bradley Publishing, 2005

Shares stories, customs, and recipes of Chicago Greeks and Greektown, from its original location on the site of the University of Illinois at Chicago, to the Greek community today.

FUN FACT: I’m so proud to have been part of that project. It was my first book contribution. They called me the food editor. 😉

Chicago Greeks Phoenix Candy Shop in Greektown the Delta Image by Wallace Kirkland
Phoenix Candy Shop
Once located at 607 S. Halsted Street
in Chicago’s Original Greektown, The Delta.
IMAGE: Wallace Kirkland

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Craving something sweet?

Reading Chicago Greeks’ sweet history will surely be satisfying. And then, of course, you must treat yourself to a sweet treat!

Read more:

‘Greek Goddess of Comedy’ Ellen Karis Pens Children’s Book

REVIEW: Greek-American Author Joanna Eleftheriou’s ‘THIS WAY BACK’

Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Maria currently pens a literary column for NEO magazine and also contributes to Greek City Times and TripFiction. Her work has been published in The Magic of Us-A Moms Who Write Poetry Anthology, The Pen Poetry Magazine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently working on her 1st novel.

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