WHERE’S THE BEEF? #socs

You just knew I was going to say that, right?

The people who made that commercial thought the line that would make it a hit was “It’s a big, fluffy bun.” My favorite line is, “I don’t think there’s anybody back there!”

That commercial, incidentally, is from 1984. 31 years ago. Feel old now?

Mary grew up in the neighborhood called Back of the Yards in Chicago, and after we were married we lived there for almost ten years. The Yards, of course, refers to the Union Stockyards. Remember Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle? Those stockyards. Remember Carl Sandburg calling Chicago “Hog Butcher for the World”? Uh huh, that’s because of the stockyards. Our telephone exchange was DRover 6, and Mary’s aunt and uncle had a phone number with the exchange YArds 7. We didn’t bank there, but the main bank in the neighborhood was the Drovers Bank. You know where the money came from.

Of course, by the time I moved down there, the Yards had been closed for at least 15 years. They moved to Peoria, if I’m not mistaken. A friend of mine and I drove through there, and it was amazing: the cattle pens were still up, the grass was as tall as I was…. no one had thought to develop the land, though there were a few businesses there. The International Amphitheater was still there, and the arch that announced you were entering the Yards was still there.

Union_Stock_Yard_Gate
All that was left was the arch by the time I got there. We have a sketch of the arch as a reminder of where we used to live (Source: Wikipedia)

There were still a few meat-packing plants in the neighborhood. I applied for a supervisor job at one. The guy who interviewed me was wearing a coverall that was caked in blood, and talked about the hardest part of the job being handling the knives. Uh, that’s okay, I think I’ll find a nice computer programming job.

There was a business north of the Yards named Calumet Meats, “The Home of Moo & Oink.” They sold some of the meat from the Yards that you couldn’t get anywhere else. Eventually, they renamed the business “Moo & Oink,” and made funny commercials, like this one.

Sometimes I miss the old neighborhood. Not often, but sometimes. Nothing for us there anymore.


This post is a Stream of Consciousness Saturday entry. Linda Hill, who hosts the blog hop, has the rules and list of other entrants here.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

13 thoughts on “WHERE’S THE BEEF? #socs”

  1. “Where’s the Beef ?”will always conjure up that commercial in many of our minds. I liked your Moo and Oink as well. I read The Jungle when I was young and it was a great book. I loved hearing about the names in your post like Drovers.

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  2. Those commercials are both great. I never heard of Moo & Oink but the spot was hilarious…
    I’m so glad you didn’t go work in the meat packing plant!!!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. There are three Moo & Oink locations, all located on the south side of Chicago (the baddest part of town, as Jim Croce told us), and their commercials mostly run in the off hours. A shame, too. Besides ribs and wings, they sell chitterlings (chitlins), too!

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        1. They have a website (moo-oink.com) that says the stores closed in 2011, but the brand name was bought by Best Chicago Meat Company and lives on in freezer cases all over. They have an interactive map that tells you where you can buy them in your area, and you can also buy the stuff online. Unfortunately, the chitlins are gone…

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