Just steps from where the curse of the Billy Goat was born, a new Billy Goat has just opened, its wall covered with dozens of photographs and artifacts that chronicle the history, lore and legend of one of America’s most enduring relationships. capture our city, the one between a baseball team and a goat.

Located at 3724 N. Clark St., in what had been the Full Shilling Public House for a few decades, the new Goat joins the increasingly hectic playground and booze-fueled area surrounding Wrigley Field.

Earlier in this century there had been a goat a few blocks south, but it closed after two years. “But it’s nice to be back,” said Bill Sianis, whose family owned the Billy Goats for a long time. “It was always in our plans to return to the neighborhood. Maybe we are meant to be together.”

Others agree. The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce released a statement expressing its excitement about “the potential of this legendary establishment to weave itself into the fabric of our neighborhood. The arrival of Billy Goat Tavern in Wrigleyville marks more than just the expansion of a beloved Chicago eatery; it marks the coming together of two iconic Chicago institutions: Wrigley Field and the Billy Goat Tavern.

It’s possible – isn’t it? – that some people may have never heard of the curse? The north room of the tavern will inform them. The story hangs on the walls and goes back to October 6, 1945, and William Sianis, owner of a tavern known as the Billy Goat Inn on Madison Street, across from what was then Chicago Stadium.

On that day, he brought his pet goat named Murphy to watch the Cubs play the Detroit Tigers in the fourth game of the World Series. Murphy wore a blanket with a sign on it that read, “We Got Detroit’s Goat.”

In short, the pair were not allowed to take a seat and returned to the inn. After the Cubs lost the series, Sianis sent a telegram to team owner Phil Wrigley asking, “Who stinks now?” And so the curse was born, fueled by a combination of the Cubs’ ineptitude and the inventiveness of newspaper writers. It finally ended when the Cubs won game seven against the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series.

The south room of the new tavern is dedicated to the other source of BG fame: the many famous visitors, from presidents to movie stars, and some of the journalists who wrote about the BG, none more enthusiastic or artful than columnist Mike Royko. The walls also tell of the 1978 “Saturday Night Live” sketch, inspired by the “cheezborger, cheezborger” mantra at BG, starring John Belushi, Bill Murray and Robert Klein. The kitchen is also located in this room.

At an informal family-and-friends opening a few weeks ago, the crowd was littered with a few celebrities, a few politicians, a few loyal customers from the other Goats and a few curious neighbors.

Sam Sianis, the patriarch of the family that owns and operates the taverns, was there. Sitting and smiling, he may have remembered how he came here from his native Greece in 1955 to work for his Uncle Billy and in 1964 helped open what is now the oldest BG, that underground tavern on Hubbard Street.

Co-owner Bill Sianis sits with his son Ephraim, 3, at the newly opened Billy Goat Tavern in Wrigleyville on June 6, 2024. Sianis painted the goat painting behind him.  (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)
Co-owner Bill Sianis sits with his son Ephraim, 3, at the newly opened Billy Goat Tavern in Wrigleyville on June 6, 2024. Sianis painted the goat painting behind him. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)

He was with his wife Irene and she was smiling too as they watched some of their six adult children – in addition to Bill, sons Tom, Paul and Ted, and twin daughters Patty and Jennifer – and eleven grandchildren explore the beautiful new property.

Bill Sianis had a goat on a leash and they walked around, stopping here and there for people who wanted to touch the animal. Bill said he and the family bought the entire two-story building where the tavern is located, with apartments upstairs. “We’re here for preservation and maybe the opportunity for another World Series,” he said.

Earlier this week he was back, along with his wife Boriana Tchernookova, a visiting professor in the biology department at the University of Illinois-Chicago. With them was their son, the youngest of the group of Siani’s grandchildren, almost four-year-old Ephraim.

“And he’s already saying, ‘cheezborger, cheezborger,’” Tchernookova said. “Maybe it’s genetic.”

Customers eat food at the newly opened Billy Goat Tavern in Wrigleyville on June 6, 2024. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)
Customers eat food at the newly opened Billy Goat Tavern in Wrigleyville on June 6, 2024. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)
A list of goat-themed cocktails hangs on the wall of the newly opened Billy Goat Tavern in Wrigleyville on June 6, 2024.  (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)
A list of goat-themed cocktails hangs on the wall of the newly opened Billy Goat Tavern in Wrigleyville on June 6, 2024. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)

Ana Luna worked nearby. She worked for the Sianis family for 15 years, at the other Billy Goat locations and most recently at the Lake Street outpost that recently closed. She’s excited and not just because this place is closer to her home.

“Yes, I can walk to work and I’m still getting used to it, but I know I’m doing well here,” she said. “Of course we expect it to be busy when the Cubs play and there are many other events at the park throughout the year. But we can’t wait to serve breakfast and meet all our new neighbors.”

One of those neighbors is Joe Shanahan, owner of the Metro/Smart Bar/Gman Tavern complex to the north. He has been in the area for over forty years. He was at the opening party and told me, “We welcome the Billy Goat to the block and wish them the best of luck. The Sianis family has made a big impression on me and all the people I work with. It’s not every day that you come across an icon like Sam Sianis on his ‘opening day’ and also meet a goat.”