It's in the hole! Bill Murray helps open 'Caddyshack' in Rosemont
In what one might call a Cinderella story, one-time North Shore golf caddie Bill Murray returned to his roots in the Chicago suburbs Tuesday to help open his family's new "Caddyshack"-themed sports bar.
Murray Bros. Caddyshack, at 9546 Balmoral Ave. in Rosemont, is inspired by the 1980 classic comedy film about high jinks on the links, staring Murray as gopher-hunting greenskeeper Carl Spackler. It was the experiences of Murray and his five brothers, who were raised in nearby Wilmette and caddied at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, that inspired Brian Doyle-Murray to write the movie script.
"It's all true. Every bit of it is true. The explosions. All of it," joked Bill, joined by brothers Andy, Joel and Johnny for a news conference at the restaurant. "The first scene as the caddie is trying to escape the house from all his brothers and sisters -- that's what it was like in our house. You had to somehow slip out of the door so that someone else would be forced to do the dishes."
The 8,600-square-foot restaurant, decorated with Murray family photos and posters from movies in which they starred, is meant to be an extension of the family's living room, they said. All of the Murray brothers -- actor/comedian Bill, chef Andy, financial executive Ed and actors Brian-Doyle, Joel and Johnny -- collaborated with Atlanta-based Z-Space Design on the interior finishes. Their sisters Nancy, Peggy and Laura had a flower bouquet -- with mini golf clubs sticking out of it -- delivered to the restaurant Tuesday.
"It's most fun to me to see all the pictures of my brothers and sisters and parents," Bill said. "The movie posters -- that's a career. But the pictures of your family -- that's a life."
Murray was in town not only to check out the new restaurant, but also to promote his New Worlds musical stage show tour with cellist Jan Vogler. The show, in which Murray sings and narrates literary selections, makes a stop Thursday night at the Chicago Theatre.
Sipping a glass of orange juice and wearing a green stocking cap, Murray sat in front of TV cameras for about a half-hour, riffing on his suburban youth, career in showbiz, and love of the Cubs and golf.
"We grew up as working kids sort of," he said. "The films on the wall are sort of a result of the work ethic you learn as a caddie. I think everyone should caddie. I think it's great experience. You learn a lot about people and how to treat people and how you'd like to be treated. It really was the most formative experience to be a caddie."
References from "Caddyshack" the movie abound throughout the restaurant, located on the west side of the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare hotel. Quotes -- from "Au revoir, gopher!" to "Gunga Galunga" -- are painted on the walls. The menu of American fare features everything from appetizers like Crispy Potato Golf Balls, to desserts like Gopher Holes. There's seating for about 240, including in the "Looper's Lounge" that serves as a private dining area.
An island bar has some 30 TVs and serves drinks like a "Pool Water Martini" -- complete with a Baby Ruth candy bar. "The Shed" retail area sells items including T-shirts, hats and gopher golf club head covers.
It's the brothers' second location, after opening the first in 2001 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. Andy Murray, who co-founded the restaurant with longtime friend Mac Haskell, had been in search of a Chicago-area location for some time, having considered Wrigleyville and Navy Pier. Murray met Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens a few years ago at a convention, leading to Murray's selection of a space in the Northwest suburb. Tuesday's opening comes a little more than a year after plans were announced.
"It's just that feeling of casual fun," Bill Murray said. "It has that feeling of a family kind of a place."