The new Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group (HCRG) venture at Water Tower Place set to open in April 2014 will be a must-experience mecca for all sports fans. Combining dining, entertainment, private event venues, and retail, the high-energy complex will anchor Level 7 of Water Tower Place. The 22,000+ square foot complex will include Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch and the Chicago Sports Museum.
“We’re excited to bring this new breed of dining, entertainment and retail to Chicago,” says Grant DePorter, HCRG CEO. “You won’t have to be a sports enthusiast to enjoy yourself, but for superfans like me, it will be nirvana.”
Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch
Sports fans and foodies alike will appreciate this new addition to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. In designing the menu, HCRG Corporate executive chef Joe Rosetti has put his own spin on classic American comfort food. Inventive burgers, farm fresh salads, oven-fired pizzas, and hand-dipped milkshakes dominate. The menu will be complemented by a wide selection of local craft beers, Chicago-inspired cocktails and a carefully curated wine list. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner.
Designed by Barker/Nestor Architecture + Design, the walls of the 250-seat restaurant and 60-seat bar will be covered with photographs from Harry Caray’s private collection as well as authentic sports memorabilia. HDTVs throughout the dining room and bar will be tuned in to all major sporting events. Newly installed floor-to-ceiling windows will provide diners with stunning city views. The urban industrial aesthetic, characterized by the use of turn of the century decorative metal work detailing, Edison bulbs, steel piping, and concrete, is an homage to Chicago’s historic Water Tower—one of the city’s most familiar and treasured landmarks for which Water Tower Place is named.
The Chicago Sports Museum
The 8,000 square foot Chicago Sports Museum will offer a highly interactive experience for visitors to explore the legends and lore of Chicago sports. It will combine hi-tech interactive experiences—including skill challenges and simulated experiences—with unique sports memorabilia (think Sammy Sosa’s corked bat), and an impressive collection of game-used treasures and other artifacts.
“The Chicago Sports Museum is going to fill a hole in this sports-crazy town,” says David Kaplan, sportscaster WGN Radio and Comcast SportsNet. “We have lots of great museums in Chicago, but nothing dedicated to sports. Fans are going to love it!”
“In such a sports-friendly city, The Chicago Sports Museum fills a cultural void that will please young and old alike,” says Mitchell Feldman, senior general manager of Water Tower Place. “This new anchor venue on Level 7 will give local and out-of-town guests an unparalleled sports experience.”
The exhibits, designed by Lincolnwood, Illinois-based Luci Creative and Chicago-based Next/Now, will be organized around five major zones:
Visitors will start their tour with a series of one-of-a-kind interactive experiences where they can compare their abilities to the extraordinary strength, size, and agility of many of Chicago’s finest athletes. Examples include measuring vertical leap compared to Michael Jordan (reportedly an astonishing 48 inches) and testing reaction time compared to the lightning speed of Hawks goalie Tony Esposito.
This area of the Museum will demonstrate how CSI-type techniques can be used to unravel sports mysteries and separate fact from fiction. Over the years, Harry Caray’s has worked with the FBI, radiologists, chemists, and other specialists to show that in the world of sports, things are not always as they appear. Visitors will be able to look inside Sammy Sosa’s corked bat, see how baseballs have changed over time and find out what happened to the puck that scored the winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in the last game of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The center of the Museum celebrates Chicago sports fans. Harry Caray himself was known as the greatest Chicago baseball fan of all time. A replica of the Wrigley Field broadcast booth will allow visitors to call a game like Harry, sing ”Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, or do their best Harry impersonation. Fans will also put their Chicago sports knowledge to the test with a giant interactive trivia game.
Curses and Superstitions
As guests enter this stone-clad room, they will be immersed in the phenomenon of popular and lesser known sports “curses” as well as player superstitions and rituals. Visitors will learn about curses that have plagued Chicago sports teams as well as those around the world, and can then test their new knowledge with the Curses! game. They will also hear directly from well-known Chicago athletes about their personal superstitions and rituals.
Hall of Legends
This gallery highlights Chicago’s Hall of Fame athletes and offers an array of “play with the legends” baseball, basketball, football, and hockey interactive games, including:
· All-Star Home Run Contest as Hall of Fame White Sox slugger Frank Thomas
· Quarterback Challenge where players must avoid getting sacked by Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XX MVP Richard Dent
· Defending the Goal as Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane takes slap shots
· Shooting Hoops as Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen.
· Learn to Pitch with Kerry Wood, one of the most celebrated pitchers in Cubs history.