Outside of a miracle comeback victory over the weekend, Chicago Bulls fans have had little to celebrate this season thus far, so it’s time to dip into nostalgia at the steakhouse named after basketball’s greatest player. Michael Jordan’s Steak House in downtown Chicago has created a combo based on the seminal classic, Space Jam, the 1996 flick that starred Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and Warner Bros.’s animated Looney Tunes characters.
The combo, offered to customers at the bar, features a burger with barbecue braised pork belly, pickled onions, dill pickle, stout mustard, butterkäse, and aged cheddar. It comes with fries and a special salted-caramel milkshake, dubbed “Mike’s Secret Stuff,” for $27. The shake’s name is a Space Jam reference, coming from the elixir Jordan’s teammates chugged in the movie to give them confidence. The combo is available during every Bulls home game through April 13.
“We’re doing it with really great ingredients and going over the top,” executive chef Craig Couper said.
The burger’s a riff on an old McDonald’s burger that was available for a limited time in the Chicago market, “the McJordan Special.” It was a Quarter Pounder topped with “special” barbecue sauce and bacon. McDonald’s in the Boston market served up the same item, named the “Big 33” in honor of Celtics legend Larry Bird. Jordan’s restaurant has periodically offered its version as a special.
The movie combines animation with live action, a relative rarity 23 years ago. The plot involves Jordan leading a team of Looney Tunes including Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in a basketball game versus a malevolent alien crew called the Monstars. At the time, the Bulls were a global phenomena in the midst of the team’s championship dynasty — almost any item or brand featuring Jordan, as Nike could attest, would sell. A Space Jam sequel is in the works starring LeBron James, set for a 2021 release. Hopefully, it won’t flop.
MJ’s restaurant continues to be a tourist attraction off Michigan Avenue. The steakhouse still draws Jordan fans on game days, despite 21 years passing since the Bulls’s last championship. The restaurant still offers its Table 23 promotion, and started serving cocktails using tequila and mezcal from Cincoro, the company co-owned by Jordan and four other NBA owners.
“There are Jordan fans from the Bulls, then you have them from the shoes — there are people that are crazy, crazy about those — and then you have the Space Jam fans,” Couper said. “You have a multitude of people who are MJ fans in different ways.”