Staple of Chicago romance celebrating 50 years - FOX 32 News Chicago

Staple of Chicago romance celebrating 50 years

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

First dates are tricky. They need to be casual but exciting, relaxed but interesting, unassuming but hopeful.

At 340 West Armitage in Old Town, more than 130,000 dates have taken that first step. That’s the thing about 50 years – love has time to bloom.

A touch of Europe is Geja’s Café, a staple of Chicago romance that’s entering its 50th year of operation. Originally founded on Wells Street, it served as a harbor for the Bohemian until moving to its current location in 1971, where it evolved into Chicago’s first wine bar.

Since then, this fondue-soaked springboard for love has housed more than 16,000 engagements and even more first dates.

Jeff Lawler, the managing partner of Geja’s, is an expert at the art of love – for others, if not himself.

Even celebrities – from Vince Vaughn to Jennifer Anniston – have been spotted enjoying the private quarters of the restaurant’s sensual solitude.

When it comes to first dates, history can help the mystery.

Geja’s culinary style has aided couples through those initial awkward stages of love for going on fifty years, guiding many toward "the one" - because the one is worth waiting for.

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