Richard Melman, founder and chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE), has consistently sought and delivered enduring ahead-of-trend concepts to the restaurant industry for four decades in the Chicago area. This year LEYE is celebrating their 40th Anniversary and for a limited time only they will be featuring a LEYE T-shirt line called, R.I.P. Line (Restaurants in Peace). These T-shirts will pay homage to some of their most unique and fun concepts as well as some current classics.
Sportiqe is proud to share roots in the city of Chicago with Richard and LEYE. We remember growing up eating at the unique establishments Melman helped conceptualize and put on the map. We are beyond excited to celebrate what makes Chicago such a great city by designing this R.I.P. line for a fellow Midwestern visionary and entrepreneur Richard Melman and the one-of-a-kind Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. Below are descriptions for the first two restaurants in the collection. All shirts are available here. Check back each month to what new shirts will pop up next.
The momentum started in 1971, when Rich Melman and Jerry Orzoff opened the very first LEYE establishment, R.J. Grunts. Even today, this restaurant still exudes the funky, free-spirit lifestyle of the 70's in its style, décor, music, and menu. Credited with creating the first salad bar in the states and having the best burger in town, R.J. Grunts is still cookin' after all these years.
Fritz, That’s It!
Taking a tentative tiptoe into the burbs, LEYE’s second spot was named for one of the original Grunts partners — Chef “Fritz” Joast. On the east side of then-sleepy downtown Evanston, it was Gruntslike, but not as long-haired hippie as R.J.’s. There was even a barber chair in the foyer! The menu also centered on an expansive, all-you-can-eat salad bar, which was a becoming LEYE thing