Updated 05/08/13 – 9:43 a.m.
LINCOLNWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — The founder of an award-winning steakhouse in Lincolnwood has died, around the same time a fire damaged the restaurant on Wednesday.
WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, around 2:30 a.m., Myron Freedman died at the age of 95.
A short time later, a fire broke out in the storeroom of Myron & Phil’s, the steakhouse and seafood restaurant he and his brother founded 43 years ago at 3900 W. Devon Av.
Freedman’s son, Mark, called it an eerie coincidence.
“Maybe my dad’s trying to send me a great message. Who knows what it is, but … we’re going to make it work,” he said. “We’re going to rise from this and be one of the best restaurants on the North Shore.”
Lincolnwood Fire Battalion Chief John Jaeger said the worst of the damage was confined to the back of the restaurant, and he believes the restaurant can reopen soon.
“I wouldn’t see a reason why he wouldn’t reopen again,” Jaeger said. “It’s more cosmetic … there’s no real structural damage, so it shouldn’t take that long.”
One firefighter was injured when he cut his hand at the scene.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
In its more than four decades in business, Myron & Phil’s frequently has catered to celebrities and politicians, including former President Bill Clinton, who often stopped by when he was president.
Mark Freedman said the late Congressman Dan Rostenkowski was the one who first brought Clinton to Myron & Phil’s about 20 years ago for steaks and ribs.
“My father served a lot of people through politics, and served a lot of people from the movies, and it’s an icon restaurant, and the food has been great, and it’s better than ever, and we’re going to make it open again,” he said. “Everybody knew us for our ribs, and our skirt steak, and our fishes, and it’s just that restaurant that no one was able to duplicate.”
Freedman said the restaurant will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes, and carry on after the fire and his father’s death.