Morton’s Cofounder Sells House with Huge Gourmet Kitchen
“My house was for parties,” Fritsch says. “My kitchen is very large, with a fireplace, a television, and a big island—and outside I had five decks. It was the perfect house to entertain in. The biggest party we ever had there was 120 people, and they were all in the kitchen or on the deck. It wasn’t a house for a regular family, but a regular family bought it from me.” (The buyers are not yet identified in public records.) The house used to have a hot tub on the roof, Fritsch says, but he took it down last year.
Roberta Brennan, the Prudential Rubloff agent who represented the four-bedroom house, says that the kitchen is “huge—a real gourmet’s kitchen,” and that the main living rooms are all large-scale with high ceilings. Although 11 years old, “that house was in pristine condition,” Brennan says. “It was very well taken care of.”
In the 1970s, Fritsch was working as a chef in a New Orleans Playboy Club when Arnie Morton, who ran the clubs, tapped him to move to Chicago. Together they started a couple of restaurants, a disco called Zorine’s, and Morton’s, which today has a chain of 76 restaurants. In 1987 Fritsch became president of Morton’s, which is now publicly owned; he still serves as vice-chairman. (Arnie Morton died in 2005.) Last month he visited Shanghai for the opening of the first Morton’s in mainland China.
Fritsch says that he sold the house because he is spending more time at his home in Florida. But, he adds, “I always want to keep a place in Chicago,” and he is currently renovating for his own use a Lincoln Park apartment that he has owned but rented out for about 25 years.
Price Points: The house went on the market in the spring with an asking price of $1.775 million; it had one price reduction before going under contract in July, Brennan says. The sale closed August 16th. Files at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds show that Fritsch paid $355,000 for the lot in 1997. Fritsch would not reveal what he spent to build the house, but he did say that he made “about $225,000” on the sale. “I’m lucky,” he says, “but five years ago I could have sold it for $2 million.”
Listing Agent: Roberta Brennan of Prudential Rubloff; 312-368-5964