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River North, Gold Coast, Near North Side

Tavern On Rush Owner Hints At Future As Regulars Celebrate End Of A Viagra Triangle Era

The Gold Coast steakhouse and bar closed Wednesday night after 25 years. Restaurateur Phil Stefani had two words for the standing-room-only crowd: "Stay tuned."

Phil Stefani, owner of Tavern On Rush, attends the last night open night for the Gold Coast restaurant. Tavern On Rush spent 25 years in the Viagra Triangle.
Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago
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GOLD COAST — As Tavern on Rush welcomed its last dinner crowd Wednesday before closing permanently, owner Phil Stefani left faithful customers with two words: “Stay tuned.”

Stefani previously said that if he could find the right space to reopen Tavern on Rush, he would — but he revealed few details beyond his cryptic words Wednesday.

The iconic Gold Coast restaurant closed Wednesday night after 25 years on Rush Street in the Viagra Triangle. The restaurant was originally set to close after Dec. 31, but those plans were foiled last week after the restaurant failed to extend its management contract beyond Oct. 31, Stefani said in a letter on the restaurant’s website.

Instead, regulars spent this week celebrating the bar and restaurant’s final days, with people piling in Monday for the last Ladies Night and Louboutin raffle. A standing-room-only crowd descended on the restaurant’s bar Wednesday night, with reservations in the dining room completely booked.

“Restaurants are bricks and mortar, but the staff is the one that makes it,” Stefani said Wednesday as the restaurant closed. “To all my customers these past 25 years, you have made Tavern on Rush.”

RELATED: Big Crowd Of Regulars Gathers To Celebrate End Of An Era At Last Ladies Night At Tavern On Rush

Credit: Melody Mercado/Block Club Chicago
More than 150 people attended the very last Ladies Night at Tavern On Rush in the Gold Coast. The restaurant is set to close permanently Wednesday.

Tavern on Rush opened in 1998 and quickly became a hot spot with local celebrities. Over its tenure, it employed 4,000 people and served more than 8 million guests, Stefani said. Some of the original staff was still working at the restaurant 25 years later, he said.

“In the 25 years, we created a great history. It was a great vibe,” Stefani said earlier. “Every restaurant has its little niche. I think that the niche there was a meeting place where people want to be seen and also where people like to see.

“I appreciate every moment of it. I appreciate the staff that I have and the staff who made it possible.”

Credit: Facebook
Tavern on Rush had closed.

The steakhouse and bar was slated to close Jan. 1 because its lease was ending, but owners announced earlier this month that it was close earlier than expected after the restaurant failed to extend its management contract.

Faithful customers this week said they will miss the “impeccable staff,” with many saying they have some of their best memories at Tavern on Rush.

Credit: Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago
Glenn Ventura has been to almost every Ladies Night at Tavern On Rush. His friends joke that the restaurant doubles as his office since he’s there almost every day.

Glenn Ventura, a Tavern on Rush regular since it opened in 1998, said Tavern on Rush had a vibe “that very few people could do in the country.”

Decked out in a light blue crushed velvet blazer and white trousers, Ventura, a 65-year-old social butterfly, said his friends joke that Tavern on Rush was his “office,” he said.

“Every day here is a special day,” he said.

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