Northwest Indiana will bid farewell next week to restaurants and live entertainment venues at the the landmark but soon-to-be-demolished Radisson at Star Plaza, in Merrillville.
T.J. Maloney’s Authentic Irish Pub, the Star Cafe and Wisecrackers Comedy Club at the Radisson at Star Plaza are all closing, White Lodging spokeswoman Kathleen Quilligan Sebastian said. The 47-year-old hotel at U.S. 30 and Interstate 65 will be shuttered on New Year's Eve and replaced with a more upscale hotel in 2018.
The well-trafficked Starbucks in the hotel is slated to close at noon Dec. 31.
Wisecrackers, which has been entertaining Region residents every weekend since 1990, hosts its last stand-up comedians at 9:30 p.m. Saturday night. Adam Degi and Nate Craig will be the last to perform there.
The celebrity-themed Star Cafe closes at 11 a.m. Tuesday after serving its final breakfast. The buffet-style restaurant served breakfast to hotel guests and dinner to people going to shows at the Star Plaza Theatre next door, including the late Crown Point billionaire Dean White. The walls were lined with hundreds of photos of past Star Plaza performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, B.B. King, Liberace and Bob Dylan, and a glass case at the entrance contained memorabilia like a "Ray" DVD signed by Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx.
Star Plaza Theatre CEO Charlie Blum said the only thing ever stolen from the treasure trove of concert memorabilia was a framed photo of singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, who starred in "Grease." Plans call for displaying some of the photos and memorabilia in the new hotel.
The Guinness will stop flowing at the neighboring T.J. Maloney’s Authentic Irish Pub when it closes at 11 p.m. Tuesday. The full-service restaurant, one of only a few traditional Irish bars in Northwest Indiana, was known for its popular Easter and Thanksgiving Day brunches, and provided a stage for musicians like Nicole Jamrose on weekends.
The Radisson itself closes after all the guests check out Dec. 31, Sebastian said. Dec. 30 will be the last night anyone can stay there. White Lodging is donating furniture and other items to local nonprofits such as the NWI Food Bank and wants to prevent the hotel from becoming an eyesore before it's razed in the spring.
"We understand how important the I-65 and US 30 intersection is as a key gateway to the community," she said. "Also, we will have security patrolling the property 24/7 once the hotel closes through the demolition, and are working closely with the Merrillville Police Department on this."