Roger “The Terrible” Touhy began running the North Side Chicago Mafia during the Prohibition Era. He led gambling rings and other illegal activities during that time, but the large part of his business was brewing beer and distilling illegal spirits. The business was so good that he gave his brother, Eddie Touhy, money to expand their business outside of Chicago. Eddie traveled to Madison where he started Eddie’s Wonder Bar in 1929. Little did Eddie know that he stumbled on something that would later become famous.
For years Eddie’s Wonder Bar served excellent food and drink to the Madison public along with many unsavory characters that were looking to get out of Chicago for a little while until the heat was off of their backs. Three sisters, Mandie Burgin, Mamie Collier, and Ruby Farringer ran the Wonder Bar for Eddie unitl he sold it to Joe and Marian Kassak in 1948. The Kassak’s then sold the restaurant to Dick Whalen in the mid 70’s. During the 1970’s and 1980’s you could find many of the University of Madison Athletic Department members, doctors, lawyers, and politicians regularly patronizing The Wonder Bar. Throughout the years, Eddie’s tradition was kept alive by selling great steaks and seafood.
The years of The Wonder Bar continued until Mr. Whalen sold the business in 1993. Under new ownership the name changed to Madison Cigar Bar, The M.O.B. Roadhouse, and The Bar Next Door. In May of 2009 the name was changed back to The Wonder Bar Steak House. Guests can now enjoy the same atmosphere that people still remember from years past. The menu has gone back to offering great steaks and seafood, along with a wonderful list of appetizers, and as always, great cocktails and service.