PEOPLE are willing to wait for the stars in Chicago...

Salmagundi

August 26, 1993

PEOPLE are willing to wait for the stars in Chicago. Ignoring hunger as well as other plans for the evening, thousands of people stand in lines to eat at Chicago's newest restaurants owned by America's most famous.

Bulls basketball fans anxiously await their turn at Michael Jordan's Restaurant (that's its name), which opened four months ago. Lunch reservations are accepted, but dinner is first-come, first-serve. The hostesses begin seating people at 5 o'clock; but by 4:30 the line has already begun. If you are unfortunate enough to arrive at 7 o'clock you'd better have eaten a big lunch, because you could encounter a four-hour delay.

"Most give their name and just come back a few hours later," said hostess Leslie Krugel. If you prefer to hang around in hopes of catching a glimpse of HIM, you can pass the time in a crowded bar that shows videos of NBA's most adored player.

Don't count on dining with him, though. He has been known to pass through, but he eats upstairs in his private dining room where the tables and chairs were built to fit his six-foot, six-inch frame.

For those who would rather increase their odds of seeing a star, the latest Planet Hollywood restaurant is just the place. Owned by movie stars Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it is one of the hottest places in the Windy City.

It opened July 19, and on a Friday or Saturday night the line to dine stretches down the block. Other Planet Hollywood restaurants are in New York, London, Cancun, California and Florida. The outside is decorated with hand and footprints of the owners and other stars like Mr. Willis' wife, Demi Moore. While waiting you can compare your hand and foot sizes to theirs.

Other restaurants such as The Eccentric, owned by talk-show hostess Oprah Winfrey, accept reservations. If you go there without calling in advance, however, the wait can be between one and three hours.

Chicagoans have become such enthusiastic star-watching gourmets that dining out has become an all-night event. The Bulls' "three-peat" basketball championships may be causing some locals to do a three-eat.

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