Without Eli’s the Place for Steak, there would be no
Eli’s Cheesecake. It was there that my dad worked in the kitchen to develop his
cheesecake formula. After a 39 year run at 215 E. Chicago Avenue, our home is
being demolished as our landlord, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, moves forward
with a project to build the new Women’s Hospital.

The article below by Jon Anderson in today’s Tribune
says it best. We have until Saturday, July 30th to serve our customers daily
with great service and outstanding food. Thereafter, we are considering a number
of options in the Greater North Michigan Avenue Area. My family has had a
restaurant on in that area continuously since 1962 when my dad opened Eli’s
Stage Delicatessen on Oak Street. We really don’t want to venture
far.

Come to Chicago and celebrate with us—we have the 25th
birthday of Taste of Chicago and Eli’s Cheesecake on Saturday, June 29th and a
celebration nightly at Eli’s the Place for Steak leading up to our closing
dinner on Saturday, July 30th, which will be a benefit for the Eli M. Schulman
Playground & Seneca Park.

 

Eli’s is looking for a new place for steak–and for
cheesecake

By Jon
Anderson
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 11, 2005

Rumors of the demise of Eli’s, the famed place for steak and
cheesecake, are, it appears, somewhat exaggerated.

Yes, Eli’s The Place
for Steak will be shuttering its current location on July 30, in deference to
the wishes of its landlord, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which owns the
building at 215 E. Chicago Ave.

No, that doesn’t mean the city’s top
politicians, journalists, sports legends and visiting VIPs will go hungry when
they are looking for a place to schmooze and enjoy a heavy meal.

Though
the restaurant hasn’t chosen a new location, it hopes to stay in the
neighborhood, said Marc Schulman, its president.

“We’re looking at this
as a transition,” Schulman said Thursday, between calls from customers with
memories stretching back to the mid-1960s when Schulman’s father, Eli, and his
mother, Esther, opened a hangout to serve chopped liver, Liver Eli, chicken
Vesuvio, steaks and signature desserts.

“Hey, I’ve been coming here since
I was 11 years old. Obviously this is hard. You think buildings will be around
forever. Then you find they won’t be,” said Schulman, 49, who, with his mother,
now runs an operation that includes a bakery at Montrose Avenue and Forest
Preserve Drive that churns up 18,000 cheesecakes and pastries a
day.

Thursday was a day to remember many of the famous names who had
walked through the doors of Eli’s, to be greeted by a man his son described as
“a great host with a great heart.”

There was talk of Liza Minnelli, Sammy
Davis Jr., Don Rickles, Kurt Russell, Andy Garcia, David Schwimmer, Johnny
Carson, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, as well as much of the city’s power
structure.

Frank Sinatra, a regular when in town, once sent Eli Schulman
an expensive watch, with a card of thanks.

Both Mayor Daleys often dined
there, Schulman said, noting that he had gone to City Hall Wednesday to tell
Mayor Richard M. Daley that the restaurant would be moving.

The mayor, he
said, wished him well in the search for a suitable new site in an area that is
far busier now than it was when the restaurant opened in 1966. That, in fact, is
the problem.

“The Galter Carriage House has served very well, but it has
outlived its useful life,” said Kelly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for Northwestern
Memorial Hospital, which rents the ground-floor space to Eli’s.

The upper
floors of the apartment house currently serve as rental housing for residents
and medical students, out-of-town families of patients and hospital executives
in need of short-term accommodation.

The building will come down this
fall, as part of the hospital’s major campus development now underway to meet
rising demands for medical services and hospital beds, Sullivan said.

No
specific use for the site has yet been decided, she added.

“We’d like to
stay in the neighborhood,” Schulman said, noting that “business is still
good.”

For those who feel sentimental, the current Eli’s will be open
until mid-summer, which leaves lots of time for nostalgic last dinners there,
Schulman suggested.

Unaffected by the news is a Schulman landmark across
the street–the Eli M. Schulman Playground in Seneca Park.

It was opened
in 1990, after a $500,000 fundraising campaign, to honor the man who not only
built Eli’s but also had run two successful hangouts before that, Eli’s Huddle,
at Argyle Street and Sheridan Road, and Eli’s Stage Delicatessen, at 50 E. Oak
St.