Myron and Phil’s Founder Dies at 95; Restaurant Catches Fire Shortly After

Photo: courtesy Myron and Phil's via Facebook

This is a strange story. Myron Freedman, founder of 40-year-old North Shore Jewish steakhouse Myron and Phil’s in Lincolnwood, passed away last night at age 95. Within a half hour, a fire had broken out in a storage room near the kitchen, causing minor smoke damage. “I think it means my father wants me to be a phoenix and resurrect this place to make it the jewel of the North Shore,” his son Mark, who now owns the restaurant, told the Skokie Review. The eerie coincidence overshadows the story of Freedman’s passing, which deserves commemoration for a life spent around restaurants for nearly a century.

Myron and his brother Phil grew up as their mother owned a chain of casual cafeteria-style restaurants in Hyde park in the 1920s, and opened another called Freedman’s Cafeteria in the 1940s; they were bought out by the University of Chicago in the late 1960s. Myron and Phil acquired an existing steakhouse in 1971 and ran it in classic steakhouse fashion, with chopped liver on the table for an appetizer and hands-on interaction with the customers, before Mark, also raised in the business, took it over in 1999 and continued it in much the same fashion. Mark Freedman expects the restaurant will be closed about a month for repairs. [Skokie Review]