Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant opened Tuesday afternoon in suburban Rosemont. Named after the cult classic comedy film from 1980, this is the second location after the first opened in St. Augustine, Fla., in 2001.
Now, normally there aren't press conferences packed with nearly every news outlet in the city breathlessly waiting to cover the second location of a chain restaurant, especially one with a menu full of burgers and flatbreads. But one of the Murray brothers happens to be Bill Murray, one of the great comedians of our time.
Dressed in a green stocking cap and sipping an orange juice, Murray made sure to shake every single person's hand in the attendance before sitting down to take questions, only about a quarter of which had anything to do with the restaurant. While two of his brothers, Andy and Joel, also sat with him, Bill was obviously the center of attention. He did not disappoint.
When Joel Murray admitted that menu items like an Italian beef and a Chicago-style hot dog were slightly more novel in Florida, Bill Murray was quick to point out the restaurant's short distance from O'Hare. "It's really kind of a first-responder restaurant," said Bill Murray. "When you land at the airport, you just jump in front of a car and say, 'Get me to a beef sandwich. I think there is one right over there.'"
Asked to describe the concept, Andy Murray tried to express it as an "extension of our living room," an answer Bill found unpersuasive.
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"The fact that it is called Caddyshack means it has something to do with golf," added Bill Murray. "That feeling of casual fun, I think is what it is." He also went on to note that you probably didn't want to be in the Murray household when he was young. "We had nine kids," said Murray. "People used to joke that the food was lowered in a cage. And then it was released, and the children were allowed to attack it."
Murray agreed that he is a little surprised about the enduring appeal of "Caddyshack." "But it really had the greatest funny people of that time in the movie," said Murray. "Ted Knight was a really stupid funny guy. Harold Ramis was directing it. Douglas Kenney, one of the greatest comic minds, wrote it. And Rodney Dangerfield, one of the most dangerous people you've ever come across. You think you want to party -- careful."
The restaurant is outfitted with movie memorabilia from Murray's films, including posters of movies like "Groundhog Day" and a "Space Jam" jersey. The interior is littered with quotes from "Caddyshack," though Murray was slightly upset that "Are you going to eat your fat?" didn't make the cut.
Though none of the brothers currently lives in Chicago, they all agreed that it felt like a return home to open a restaurant here, which led Bill Murray to explain why he still has undying love for the city: "Your heart is there. You have Cub blood, and Bear blood, and Blackhawk blood beating through your body all the time. ... When the Cubs won, no one was talking about the defense or the relief pitchers, they were talking about their uncle or their dad or the first time they went to the ballpark. The family connection of the whole thing." Plus, he added, "My sister still lives in the house we grew up in, so we get to crash there whenever we want. So you can't throw us out."
They did eventually talk about the food. Andy Murray loves the prime rib. Joel Murray complimented the restaurant's vegetarian options, including the Buffalo Brussels sprouts. Bill Murray loves the bacon.
Murray ended the conference by praising the restaurant for using paper straws. "My son's girlfriend is a marine biologist," said Murray. "She says that the plastic straw is the worst thing in the world. They don't really recycle. Paper straws are spaghetti."
Though I could find no evidence from my co-workers or any source online about spaghetti being used as a synonym for great, apparently Bill Murray thinks so. And that's a good enough source for me.