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updated: 8/14/2013 5:42 AM

Tramonto's in Wheeling closes, will be banquet hall

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  • Chef Rick Tramonto has closed Tramonto Steak and Seafood and RT Lounge in Wheeling.

      Chef Rick Tramonto has closed Tramonto Steak and Seafood and RT Lounge in Wheeling.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2007


Tramonto Steak and Seafood and RT Lounge, Chef Rick Tramonto's last establishments in the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, have closed.

Lettuce Entertain You, owner of Saranello's Ristorante Italiano in the hotel, will take over the space as an event hall, John Melaniphy, Wheeling's director of economic development, said Tuesday.

The steakhouse and lounge closed last week, said Tramonto. He and his partner and ex-wife, Gale Gand, were involved with four restaurants at the hotel when it opened in 2006.

Tramonto said Tuesday that the steakhouse lease was not renewed because he was not comfortable with how things might go with the hotel's new ownership, but he refused to elaborate.

The Procaccianti Group and Rockbridge Capital finalized the purchase of the hotel last week, buying it after a foreclosure, said Melaniphy. The partners are expected to spend approximately $6 million on renovations. Officials have said they will keep the Westin name.

The restaurant and lounge will be redecorated and will open as an event space Nov. 1, said Allison Little, division marketing manager for Lettuce Entertain You.

"We have gotten some feedback from guests that they want a larger event space," she said Tuesday. "It will be for events large and small -- weddings, corporate parties and bar mitzvahs." The spaces will be renamed Saranello's Banquets, but will offer all the cuisines that Lettuce Entertain You restaurants serve, said Little.

The company plans to include the outdoor terrace and can accommodate as many as 250 people, she said.

In 2011 Lettuce Entertain You opened Saranello's in the space that had housed one of Tramonto's original restaurants, Osteria di Tramonto's.

Over the years, Tramonto and Gand opened approximately 20 restaurants, including Tru in Chicago. Some of these were for the Lettuce Entertain You chain.

Tramonto said he has two restaurants in New Orleans, one in Jackson, Miss., and is looking for a place in Chicago.

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