Ronny’s Steak House has been a Chicago institution for 55 years, once serving breaded pork chops, T-bones, and other specialties at multiple locations across the city. The chain is down to a single restaurant, located on the ground-level of the Thompson Center in the Loop. Founder Herman Munic died in January and his son Kenny Munic is now running the place. In honor of his father, a fan of blues music, Ronny’s on Friday night will host live music hoping to bring regular shows, something that hasn’t happened in about 20 years.
Munic isn’t sure why Ronny’s dropped the music, but figured this is a good time for a revival. A stop at Ronny’s would once be part of a night on the town, and hearing music was part of many stops. Live music was part of Ronny’s from the ‘60s through the ‘90s.
“It wasn’t just about coming in for dinner,” Munic said.
While snobby fine diners may scoff at Ronny’s steaks, Munic is aware of his restaurant’s mission. Customers of all walks of life, many of them characters dine at Ronnie’s: “It’s a good, hot meal at a very reasonable price.”
Besides Ronny, Munic has a poke shop across the street from the Thompson Center. He opened High Tide Poke a year ago at 203 N. LaSalle Drive. He’s aware of the industry. Munic shared a story about a Spanish-speaking customer who stopped in earlier this week. He didn’t speak English, but had a companion who translated. The customer’s name was Felipe Hernandez. He was traveling from Washington to Chicago for the James Beard Awards, which recognizes the best restaurants and chefs every year from across the country. His restaurant, Los Hernandez Tamales, was recognized on Monday as an American Classics winner. That’s the same award Sun Wah BBQ won.
“After all that fancy food over the weekend, this is all that we wanted to eat,” Munic said, relaying the conversation he had with Hernandez’s translator.
Ronny’s won’t go through many change with Munic running the show, but he’s bringing back a dose of nostalgia. Ronny’s used to have five locations with a main commissary at 16 W. Randolph Street where they’d bake cupcake, pies, and cakes. Those fresh-baked have already made a comeback. Eventually they’ll introduce blue plate specials.
Depending on how customers react, Munic wants Ronny’s to host live music twice a month. From 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, they’ll host 100 Percent Foolproof. That’s a band one of its colorful customers knew about. There’s no cover. Come by the Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph Street to see if a Chicago legend can find its groove again.