INSIGHT from page 27
D.B. Kaplan's deli in 1978 in Chi-
cago's high-profile Water Tower Place.
The restaurant soon hit tough times,
so the Levy brothers did what comes
most naturally to all men in distress:
They called their mom in to help. It
worked. Mrs. Levy taught the kitchen
staff some cherished family recipes and
business began to turn around.
Shortly thereafter, the Levy brothers
bought two other restaurants, both
successes, and Levy Reitaurants was
off and running. Today, the company
owns 18 restaurants across the United
States, including such high-end
Chicago destinations as Bistro 110,
Spiaggia and the Blackhawk Lodge.
They were also, following an interna-
tional search, the first outside compa-
ny to be allowed to open restaurants
in Florida's Walt Disney World, where
they.unveiled the Portobella Yacht
Club in 1989 and Fullerton's Crab
House (the eighth highest-grossing
restaurant in the country in 1996).
Join us for an evening with
Professor, Harvard Law School
Today, Mrs. Levy, one-time savior of
the company, is still very involved in
the restaurants, not only in a spiritual
sense. She's a full-time hostess at Mrs.
Levy's Delicatessen in the Sears Tower,
and walks the 3 1 /2 miles to and from
work every day. Her official title of
"Company Mom" to Levy Restaurants'
12,000 employees, Larry Levy says, is
"a half-joke, but also very true.
Amazingly, Levy's 18 restaurants
make up only 20 percent of the com-
pany's 2002 revenues. The other 80
percent comes from Levy Sports &
Entertainment, an organization whose
unprecedented growth and sterling
reputation can be largely attributed to
Levy Restaurants' deep roots in fine
dining. And although even the most
ambitious entrepreneur might never
emulate Larry Levy's success, the phil-
anthropic-minded, much-lauded busi-
nessman, recalling his initial rejection
of the White Sox catering request, has
some words of advice for all those
seeking to carve out their own entre-
"Sometimes, opportunities are star-
ing you right in the face," he says.
"And you don't know it."
"Of course," he adds, "The Sox still
haven't made it to the World Series." Fl
DECEMBER 12, 2002
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