Ditka's Arlington Heights restaurant set to close this month
After four years, the Arlington Heights Ditka's restaurant next to Arlington International Racecourse is set to shut its doors by the end of the month, village officials confirmed.
The impending closure comes just months after the restaurant started to cut back its hours, which triggered liquor service to be cut off for weeks at the off-track betting parlor that shares the building with Ditka's.
Officials with the restaurant group, which includes locations in Chicago, Oakbrook Terrace, Westmont and Pittsburgh, didn't respond to requests for comment. A location within a Phoenix-area casino also recently closed.
Michael Mertes, Arlington Heights' business development coordinator, confirmed Ditka's, located at 2000 W. Euclid Ave., would close before the end of the year. Restaurant officials he spoke with gave no specific reason for the closure.
"It is a key visible intersection on a major road just east of (Route) 53, with visibility just east of the track," Mertes said. "Obviously it's set up to be a restaurant. That will be a target for that space."
Ditka's, which opened its Arlington Heights restaurant in 2014 as the largest of five locations, originally was open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. This past summer, it reduced hours to dinner five nights a week and lunch on weekends.
Now, Ditka's Arlington Heights is only open for dinner Thursday through Saturday, according to its website.
Paul Woodard, vice president of operations and a partner in the Ditka's Restaurants Group, told the Daily Herald in August that the abbreviated hours "best fit our business model while still fulfilling the needs of our guests."
With a five-year lease at Arlington Park for a portion of the two-story building, Ditka's looked "forward to many successful years to come," Woodard said at the time.
In August, the racetrack received state and local liquor licenses, allowing it to resume liquor service in its first-floor sports bar and second-floor concessions area of the Trackside Arlington OTB. Ditka's had been running liquor service for the whole building, so when it cut back its hours, that left bettors unable to buy alcohol.
The Arlington Heights restaurant has been the second iteration of a business owned and named for the former Chicago Bears coach, who ran a restaurant at Trackside in the late 1980s after the fire at Arlington Park.