The Blackhawks open up on the road tonight versus Tampa Bay in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The team's attempting to win its third championship since 2010, perhaps creating a bonafide NHL dynasty, and Chicago's restaurants and bars have rode the wave during the on-ice success. So while fans prep for tonight's game, check out a couple of Hawks-related facts involving Chicago's restaurants.
- After their 2010 Stanley Cup-clinching victory over Philadelphia, the team flew home to O'Hare International Airport for a nearby private event at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse in Rosemont. Fans lined up outside the restaurant where players greeted them and passed the Stanley Cup around the crowd.
- Speaking of Harry Caray's, Patrick Kane is a celebrity investor in the restaurant, along with other Chicago-area athletes. He's the only Blackhawk part of the group.
- Sadly, Stan Mikita's Donuts, does not exist. It's a fictional suburban restaurant featured in "Wayne's World." The shop's named after the Blackhawk legend and is a poke at Tim Hortons, the Canadian chain named after a former NHL defensemen who played 24 seasons.
- Looks like steak is a lucky charm for the Blackhawks. Before their last two Cup wins in 2010 in Philadelphia and 2013 in Boston, the team ate dinner at Del Frisco's. Wouldn't it be great for a championship win at home?
- After the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, many Philadelphia-based companies with offices in Chicago paid off bets by feeding their employees cheesesteaks from Philly's Best in Lakeview, according to the restaurant's owner. The irony was delicious.
- Chicago-area bakeries have made a good business decision with Blackhawk-themed sugar cookies. The Goddess and the Grocer and Alliance Bakery are among those during this playoffs run which baked red-frosted cookies shaped like Blackhawk sweaters. And that's not all for sweet teeth, as All Chocolate Kitchen in suburban Geneva created a 650-pound, all-chocolate statue of a Blackhawk player.
- When the Blackhawks host Stanley Cup Final games at the United Center, Goose Island Brewing will serve fans Proprietor's Bourbon County Brand Stout. The rare beer is available for $14 a pop at a kiosk right outside the Goose Island Brewpub on the 100 level. It's what victory tastes like.
- The mayor wants Tampa Bay fans to eat at Chicago restaurants. In a well-timed PR move, Mayor Rahm Emanuel accomplished much by saying Chicago would welcome Tampa Bay Lightning fans to local restaurants. He not only continued to tout his pro-tourism campaign, but he endeared himself to some fans angry at Tampa Bay's restrictive stadium policies that ban fans from wearing Blackhawks gear and stymies non-Florida residents from buying tickets to games in Tampa.