Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Many Marriotts of Hans Morsbach

posted by chicago pop

Construction of Marriott Convention Center in Normal, Illinois.
The Medici Restaurant is visible below the beam.

What does it take for Hyde Park restauranteur Hans Morsbach to fulfill his aspirations?

As they put it on the Normal Medici website:

The Medici on 57th is located in a dry district, and the possibility of having a delicious drink in an amazing atmosphere, where his passion for woodworking and people could meet and join forces was a pinacle [sic] achievement for Hans. The Medici in Normal fulfills his aspirations.

Being able to serve booze, above all, which Morsbach has always regretted he can't do on 57th Street. But also the legal power of eminent domain working in your favor, and the good graces of Marriott International, Inc, which will disgorge hundreds of parched conference-goers directly into your saloon as of 2009 or so.

Alcohol, Marriott, and urban renewal: all things Morsbach has objected to in his own Hyde Park back yard.

It should be clear that Morsbach doesn't have any issues with Marriott, wet bars, or forced land clearance at his second, downstate restaurant location, even though he is outspoken in his efforts to block the construction of a new Marriott Hotel in Hyde Park, and actively supported a local liquor ban as the best way to accomplish this goal.

The $64,000,000 Marriott convention center in Normal, Illinois, is directly across from Morsbach's new restaurant, will have 229 rooms, a 23,000 square foot conference center, a 500 space parking deck, and is being built on land assembled through the use of eminent domain, to the benefit of area businesses, including the Normal Medici.

So, in lieu of a toast to Morsbach's new, dry 39th Precinct -- the perfect pendant to his equally new, extremely wet downstate bar-restaurant -- we leave you to peruse the bar menu from the new, Normal Medici -- across from the new, Normal Marriott.


Medici in Normal Bar Menu

Red Wines By the Bottle


Anonymous said...

Shiner Bach? A Shiner Bock knockoff?

chicago pop said...

Sorry, Shiner Bock. I left a typo while I was cleaning up the formatting -- will fix.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Word on the street is that the Normal Medici is not yet profitable, because it's in the middle of a construction site, with some blocked streets around it.

I'm sure it'll do fine once construction is over and there's a huge Marriott where that crane is right now.

Zig and Lou said...

Hmmm, I wonder what the Pub wine list looks like....

David Farley said...

Greg said ... Shiner Bach? A Shiner Bock knockoff?

Jesu, Brew of Man's Desiring... another finely-crafted selection from The Liturgical Beer?

Richard Gill said...

Maybe Hans will just move to Normal and make sure his wine corks are moist. I bet he could park right in front of his house, even with the big Marriott in town.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time in years I've been able to use my English degree for something. :-)

chicago pop said...

A very well done article on Doctors Hospital from Medill Reports quotes Hans Morsbach on the pro-dry vote reaction: “We won against all kinds of odds; everybody was against us.”

One wonders if he's aware that a good percentage of that "everybody" might be his customer base, or at least those who haven't yet turned away from his establishment.

Also makes me wonder about Elizabeth's report from Morsbach's downstate location: if it's not solvent yet, where's the money coming from to keep it going?

Hmmm. Direct capital transfer out of a neighborhood he helped vote dry, to finance a wet one to his profit. Well done!

Save me a table at Florian, or Valois, please; or Subway or anywhere else, really.

chicago pop said...

The above-mentioned Medill article (by Daniel Lambert) also has an interesting sidebar featuring Hyde Park Herald Editor Gabriel Piemonte giving his take on the mysteriously late letter from Alderman Hairston:

The case of the late letter

Many in Hyde Park were left wondering why a letter Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) wrote against the liquor ban was not printed in the Hyde Park Herald until the day after the election.

The Herald publishes once a week on Wednesdays; the alderman’s office believes that the letter was sent to the publisher of the paper, instead of the editor, Gabriel Piemonte, who normally receives letter submissions.

Piemonte said he was surprised when someone from the alderman’s office called to find out why the letter did not run in the Herald’s pre-election issue.

“It’s a strange claim to make ... I routinely receive columns and it’s a pretty routine process,” Piemonte said.

Piemonte said that no one on staff had any record of the letter being received and that the alderman's office had followed the procedure in the past.

Piemonte also said those who submit sensitive editorials usually call to follow up. In this case, he said, no call was made.

He also added that the Herald routinely tries to rush last-minute editorials into the paper when they are of an urgent nature, as this particular one was.

“I think it is too bad, but I am a little confused about the onus being put on us,” Piemonte said.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone read the articles about Hyde Park in Wednesday's Red Eye?,0,1641724.story,0,7991988.story,0,3542268.story

If the links don't work, you can find them by using their search function with "hyde park" as the term.

The "Nerd alert" article was the one that caught my eye. While short it may be, it states openly and clearly that we're missing out on retail options and nightlife.

(How come whenever there's an article about Hyde Park nightlife nobody ever mentions Checkerboard Lounge?)

The original paper edition also had a lovely photo of Greg Lane.

GF said...

Can we look forward to a dissection of the ridiculously slanted article in the Herald reporting on the community meeting regarding the University's properties in Washington Park? According to the author, the 63rd Street El came down as a result of University expansion. Oy.

chicago pop said...

I suppose it is about time for a media roundup on the whole Washington Park expansion thing...