The last time I wrote about Dutchie Caray, widow of late, legendary Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray, and the broadcast icon's namesake restaurants, it was April 19, 2010, for the opening of the latest Harry Caray's Restaurant, when it opened at Navy Pier with a $4.5 million price tag.
Since 1987, Harry Caray's Restaurant Group (HCRG), led by Grant DePorter and now boasting seven eateries in Chicagoland, has proven to be one of Chicago's most dynamic and successful restaurant management companies.
The newest venture from Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group is Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch and the Chicago Sports Museum, which opened a week ago. I attended the VIP preview party unveiling March 18 and toured the 23,000-square-foot complex now anchoring Level 7 of Water Tower Place. It combines dining, entertainment, private event venues and retail space, and is a must-experience mecca for all sports fans.
In addition to Dutchie leading the champagne toast, celebrity guests who mingled included Bears Brandon Marshall, Alex Brown, Richard Dent, Donnell Woolford and Otis Wilson rubbing elbows with Bulls Ron Harper, Dickey Simpkins and Will Perdue and Blackhawk Bobby Hull plus Cubs favorite Ernie Banks. White Sox Ron Kittle and former Sox Coach Ozzie Guillen were also joined by announcer Steve Stone, Sky player Elena Delle Donne and Head Coach Pokey Chatman along with former Buffalo Bills Coach Marv Levy. I also crossed paths with actors James Denton and Billy Zane.
Executive Chef Joe Rosetti has put his own spin on classic American comfort food with inventive burgers, farm fresh salads, oven-fired pizzas as well as hand-dipped milkshakes. The menu is complemented by a wide selection of local craft beers, Chicago-inspired cocktails and a carefully curated wine list. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.
Designed by Barker/Nestor Architecture + Design, the walls of the 250-seat restaurant and 60-seat bar are covered with photographs from Harry Caray's private collection as well as authentic sports memorabilia.
The 8,000-square-foot Chicago Sports Museum offers a highly interactive experience for visitors to explore the legends and lore of Chicago sports. It combines hi-tech interactive experiences—including skill challenges and simulated experiences—with unique sports memorabilia (like Sammy Sosa's corked bat), and an impressive collection of game-used treasures and other artifacts.
A replica of the Wrigley Field broadcast booth allows visitors to call a game like Harry, sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," or do their best Harry impersonation.
A stone-clad "curse room" allows guests to be immersed in the phenomenon of popular and lesser known sports "curses" as well as player superstitions and rituals.
Admission to the Museum is $6 ($3 for seniors and children 3-11; free for children 2 and younger). Restaurant guests are admitted free of charge.
FYI: harrycarays.com or chicagosportsmuseum.com or (773) HOLY-COW