Booze and bets: Liquor service returning to Arlington's OTB after brief hiatus
Ditka's restaurant cuts back its hours at the racetrack
Bettors will be able to crack open a beer again as soon as Monday at the off-track betting parlor next to Arlington International Racecourse, officials said Friday.
Liquor service has been on hold for the last couple of weeks within two bar areas of Trackside Arlington, 2000 W. Euclid Ave. in Arlington Heights. That's when Ditka's restaurant, which rents space and was running liquor service for the whole building, cut back its hours, according to racetrack and village officials.
But on Thursday, the track got a state liquor license of its own to serve booze in its first-floor sports bar and second-floor concessions area, days after securing approval of a local license from the Arlington Heights village board.
Once the bars are stocked, beer will be available for sale again upstairs, with the full liquor bar available downstairs, said Jim Stumpf, Arlington's vice president for legislative affairs and OTB development.
"It didn't really kill our business," Stumpf said. "It was annoying to some of our customers."
Ditka's opened its Arlington Heights restaurant in 2014 as the largest of five locations. It had been open for lunch and dinner seven days a week but now is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, with dinner available Wednesday through Sunday and lunch available only on weekends.
Ditka's still has its own liquor licenses for its restaurant/bar and banquet facility. Ditka's didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
"We've got a five-year lease with them, and we're happy they're there," Stumpf said.
Liquor service will be available at the OTB from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.