Mike Ditka (left) with Tom
Waddle (center) and Marc
Silverman of ESPN Radio’s
Waddle & Silvy Show.
restaurant eating unfathomable amounts of meat
and musing about the power of “Da Bears” and their
fearless coach, Ditka.
During a conversation with The Connection in
one of the restaurant’s private dining areas, Ditka
smiles when remembering the skits. He says, “You’ve
got to understand, if you were here, that was kind of
the culture. I mean, the Bears could do no wrong. I
happened to be [part of] the Bears, so I could do no
wrong. So they made this big myth out of it. The
more they made up, the better it sounded and the
funnier it got.
“I always tell people that I was born in Pittsburgh,
and I’ll die in Chicago,” says Ditka, who came to play
for the Bears in 1961. “It’s the best city in the world.”
The popularity of his restaurant, Mike Ditka’s,
shows the city feels the same way about him. It has
been open for more than 10 years, and a second location opened in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, in 2007.
Both restaurants are decorated with a variety of sports
memorabilia—paying tribute not only to football,
but also to other sports such at baseball and hockey.
As an avid aficion ado,
Mike Ditka couldn’t pass
up the opportunity to
lend his name to a line
of wine and cigars.
COSTCO.COM has 10
footballs signed by Mike
Ditka to give away. To
enter and for the giveaway rules, go to www.
costco.com and search
“footballgiveaway” in the
product search box.
The talk at the bar ranges from the current football
playoff games to college basketball.
At the downtown Chicago location there’s a second bar upstairs, which used to be a cigar bar before
Chicago enacted a smoking ban last year. The restaurant’s menu features many meat-and-potato dishes,
along with a line of Mike Ditka wines.
Name: Mike Ditka
Lincoln Park, Illinois,
and Naples, Florida
Products at Costco:
Mike Ditka Kick Ass Red
is available at costco.com.
Mike Ditka wines and
cigars are available in
most warehouses in the
Great Lakes region.
Costco: “The concept
is unique, and I can see
why it’s a success. A lot of
people don’t like buying
food in bulk; I don’t mind
it. If you like the product,
you’ll buy it that way.”
A wine (and cigar)
by any other name
A longtime wine and cigar aficionado, Ditka says
the opportunity to sell name-branded wine was presented to him in the summer of 2006 and just made
good business sense. He partnered with the
Mendocino Wine Company in northern California,
participating in evaluative and blending tastings to
create five wines: Mike Ditka Kick Ass Red, Pinot
Grigio, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
After just one year on the market, the wine placed
22nd out of the 100 bestselling wines in Illinois.
Ditka’s cigars—Churchill, Toro, Robusto and
Double Corona—which have been sold since early