Soul Food Restaurant
807 W. Maxwell, Chicago


I
t's hard to believe it by the site we see here, but this street was once the home of the most well-known and well-liked deli in Chicago's famous open air street market called Maxwell Street. Known to some local Chicagoans as Jew Town because of the large number of Jews who lived nearby, Maxwell Street was an informal orchestration of vendors who sold almost anything you could want -- cheap.

Nate's Deli was the influence for the soul food restaurant run by Matt "Guitar" Murphy and his old lady, played by Aretha Franklin. The building's actual exterior is seen in the movie.


The interior shots of the restaurant where the Jake and Elwood go in search of Murphy and "Blue Lou" Marini was actually filmed on a sound stage in Hollywood made to look a lot like the old Nate's Deli but with more room to film the song and dance scene.

In recent years, most of Maxwell Street has been overrun by campus expansion of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The market continues but is a shadow of its former self. The area has been revitalized UIC-style. Don't bother looking for a Maxwell Polish because there's now a Jamba Juice on the corner. And don't be afraid to visit this area. The locals -- dressed sprightly in the latest Gap wear and Birkenstocks -- will casually look at you as you drive or walk on the street in front of their fancy dorms.

Getting there: Go west on VanBuren to Halsted Street and turn left or south. Continue on Halsted past Roosevelt Road and turn right on Maxwell Street. Turn around at the end of the block.