Ditka’s iconic restaurant gets new lease, will stay open another year

SNEED EXCLUSIVE: The Gold Coast steakhouse was close to ending its 20-year-run, but will stay open.

SHARE Ditka’s iconic restaurant gets new lease, will stay open another year

Sun-Times files

Holy Grabowski!

Ditka’s iconic eatery in the Gold Coast just got a new lease on life.

“We just got the news and are so excited,” said Diana Ditka, wife of da legendary Bears behemoth coach Mike Ditka.

Ditka told Sneed earlier this month that his restaurant would close in December because they couldn’t work out the terms of a new lease with the building’s owners.

“It’s over, it’s done,” he said.

But Diana sang a different tune Tuesday.

“We just got a year extension on our restaurant lease,” she told Sneed.

“We are just so glad,” said Diana.

“It all got worked out and one of our managing partners joked, ‘We just didn’t want you guys not to have a place to eat,’” she laughed. Not surprisingly, the Ditkas are frequent diners at the restaurant.

“I was already considering a nearby Chick-fil-a not too far away!”

Ditka opened the restaurant in 1997. There are now locations in Oakbrook Terrace and Pittsburgh. A location in Arlington Heights closed, as did a restaurant/nightclub, Ditka’s/City Lights on Ontario Street, which was opened after the 1985 Bears’ Super Bowl run.

In 2018, a venture of private equity firm Hotel Capital bought the 15-story Tremont Chicago Hotel, saying it was planning a “multimillion-dollar renovation” to modernize the property on the Magnificent Mile, an area seeing an uptick in its hospitality market and record tourism.

Ditka’s had been embroiled in negotiations over a long-term lease since last summer, and the sticking point was how much the new owners would put into renovations. The owner told Sneed, though, that he wanted Ditka’s to remain.

“We have great respect for the coach and the restaurant and we would like them to stay,” said owner Michael Collier.

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