Since 1987, Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group (HCRG), led by Grant DePorter, has proven to be one of Chicago’s most dynamic and successful restaurant management companies. HCRG operates seven restaurants, an offsite catering company and the Chicago Sports Museum. HCRG opened its first restaurant, Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in Chicago’s River North neighborhood in 1987. The restaurant offers additional locations in Rosemont and Lombard. Adjacent to Harry Caray’s Lombard is Holy Mackerel!, the restaurant group’s fresh seafood concept. Harry Caray’s Tavern Navy Pier offers a family friendly menu and spectacular waterfront location. Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch and the Chicago Sports Museum anchor the 7th floor of Water Tower Place and combine to create a high-energy, 23,000 square foot complex offering dining, entertainment, private event venues and retail.
HCRG’s offsite catering company, Harry Caray’s Catering & Events, caters many of Chicagoland’s premier landmarks including the Chicago Park District, Harold Washington Library and Garfield Park Conservatory. Named as one of the Top 75 Multiconcept Operators in the Country by Restaurants and Institutions Magazine, HCRG continues to expand its ventures. For more information, call (773) HOLY-COW or visit harrycarays.com.
Harry Caray was born Harry Christopher Carabina of French-Romanian and Italian parentage in one of the poorest sections of St. Louis. He was an infant when his father died; at ten, he was taken in by his aunt upon the death of his mother. As a young man, Caray played baseball at the semi-pro level for a short time before auditioning for a radio job at the age of 19. He then spent a few years learning the trade at radio stations in Joliet, Illinois and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Caray did play-by-play for the St. Louis Hawks professional basketball team (now the Atlanta Hawks), the University of Missouri football team and he announced three Cotton Bowl games.
It was in St. Louis, covering the Cardinals from 1945 to 1969, where Caray gained national fame. He was named “Baseball Announcer of the Year” for 7 years in a row by The Sporting News. Caray was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1989. After a quarter of a century in St. Louis, Caray moved to California to announce the Oakland A’s games on television and radio during the 1970 season. The following year, Caray came to Chicago to become the radio/television voice of the cross-town Chicago White Sox, a position he held until 1981. Harry Caray and his “tell-it-like-it-is” style of broadcasting had become as synonymous with Chicago baseball fans as the ivy that covers the center field wall at Wrigley Field.
This veteran play-by-play announcer was perhaps best recognized for his tradition of singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch and for his famous exclamations: “It might be, it could be, it is! A home run!” and “Holy Cow!”
When asked his plans for retirement, Caray summed up his plans in one word: “Never.” He was the voice of the Chicago Cubs from 1982 until he passed away on February 18, 1998. His wife, Dutchie Caray, affectionately known as the “First Lady of Chicago Baseball” continues to be very involved in all of the HCRG restaurants.