With the recent ousting of the Chicago Trader Vic’s from the Palmer Hilton, local sports-bar chain Harry Caray’s has stepped up to find a way to keep Trader Vic’s in Chicago. They’ve salvaged what they could of the Trader Vic’s interior, and are currently looking for a good location, with an eye towards opening as quickly as possible, even as early as very late 2006.
In the meantime, Trader Vic’s will live on at the three Harry Caray’s locations, in a way. The environment of course is anything but tiki, but the Trader Vic’s organization has worked with Harry Caray’s to teach them how to make a great Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, so that the city of Chicago will not have to go without until the restaurant opens. There is even a televised “passing of the tiki torch” ceremony planned for tomorrow, Tuesday February 7 at Harry Caray’s Chicago location (33 West Kinzie Street), starting at 12:30 in the afternoon. Trader Vic’s CEO Hans Richter will be there to symbolically pass on the Trader Vic’s torch and Mai Tai recipe to Harry Caray’s widow, Dutchie Caray. WCKG radio personality (and Trader Vic’s regular) Steve Dahl will emcee the event, which also includes Samoan fire dancers and Tahitian and Hawaiian hula dancing. For tomorrow only, Harry Caray’s will have tikis brought in for decor, the servers will be wearing aloha shirts and orchid leis, and some of Trader Vic’s most famous food items will be served, including BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, Trio of Tartare (Scallops Opihi, Tuna Poke and Salmon Lomi Lomi) and New York Steak Teriyaki with Steamed White Rice and Sautéed Baby Bok Choy. I tell you, I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t get Salmon Lomi Lomi. I’ve become seriously addicted to the stuff.
After tomorrow, the tikis and the tidbits will be gone, but the Mai Tai will remain — until the Trader Vic’s reopens, you will be able to get a Mai Tai at any of the three Harry Caray’s locations: Chicago, Rosemont or Midway Airport. If it’s at all possible to swing it, try to get to tomorrow’s afternoon celebration, and proudly wear your aloha shirt for it. Let the world know you miss Trader Vic’s!
- New Chicago Trader Vic’s TV announcement – Feb. 7 [Tiki Central]