Lunch with a Legend
Throughout 2011, some of the biggest names in sports partnered with Morton’s to share their stories, serve our guests and most importantly, support worthwhile charities.
Some pretty special servers traded in their uniforms for aprons at Morton’s locations across the country to help raise funds for their preferred charities, and our “Celebrity Servers at Morton’s” series saw another banner year…bringing in an astounding $1, 585, 000! This year’s total, combined with the proceeds from 2010, equals almost $3 million!
From Baltimore to Las Vegas, guests were able to rub elbows with some of the best in the business and saw their favorite athletes offering passed hors d’oeuvres, cracked pepper on their salads and refills on their wine.
Some highlights included Larry Fitzgerald’s event at Morton’s in Scottsdale, raising $220,000 for the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund and the First Down Fund; Ryan Howard’s event at Morton’s in Philadelphia, raising $200,000 for Ryan Howard Family Foundation and the Jonathan Vilma event at Morton’s in New Orleans, when the whole Saints team came together to help raise $196,000 for the Jonathan Vilma Foundation. You can visit our website to see the whole line-up of “Celebrity Servers” from 2011 or browse our blog for recaps from these incredible events.
For the 3rd year running, Morton’s also partnered with ESPN to broadcast live ‘Lunch with a Legend’ and ‘Dinner with a Legend’ events from our private dining rooms. Our guests had front-row seats and exclusive access to some legendary sports figures, including Dodger great Steve Garvey and super agent Leigh Steinberg in our LA-area restaurants, Legendary Temple basketball coach John Chaney in Philadelphia, former NHL star Jeremy Roenick in Chicago, and Browns top running back Peyton Hillis in Cleveland. Guests also got to reminisce with Bobby Dandridge and Kevin Grevey of the 1978 NBA Champion Washington Bullets, who won the dramatic Game 7 with seconds to play against the Seattle Supersonics.
As you can see, 2011 was a very exciting year for Morton’s. Sports celebrities came off of the field and on our turf to raise money for charity and provide our guests once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. We raise a glass to the athletes for donating their time and their passion to help those less fortunate and for spending time with our guests. And we raise a glass to all our guests who supported these events, their causes and their local Morton’s.
Here’s to an equally, if not more, successful 2012 for everyone…both on, and off, the field!
On Friday, December 9th, Morton’s at Wacker Place was buzzing with excitement. Yes, it was a sunny (albeit frigid) Friday, but such was not the cause of the cheer – U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Legend and former Chicago Blackhawk great Jeremy Roenick was in the building for Morton’s latest “Lunch with a Legend.” During the sold-out event in Morton’s private dining room, guests enjoyed a classic three-course lunch while Roenick sat in on ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy’s live broadcast.
But prior to the broadcast and upon his arrival, Roenick was greeted by smiling, cheering fans as he made his way upstairs and down the hall. As he walked into the private dining room, guests erupted in applause. The fans listened intently once the broadcast began…until Roenick started talking about how much he loves and misses Chicago and the Blackhawks.
“The Blackhawks jersey is the best in all of sports,” said Roenick. “I should’ve been a Blackhawk my whole life.”
As Waddle & Silvy broke for commercials throughout the lunch, Roenick was quick to jump out of his seat and make his way around the room to talk to guests. By the end of the luncheon, he had visited and spoken with each table individually, in addition to inviting guests up to the broadcast desk for autographs and photos. One enthusiastic female fan even rolled up one of the legs of her pants, exposing a detailed ankle tattoo of Roenick’s face. Hockey fans are dedicated!
Throughout the broadcast, Roenick shared his incredible stories. He gave a detailed recap of his first day with the Blackhawks as a 150 pound, 18-year-old in the old Chicago Stadium who was nearly robbed as he left practice, and then he went on to talk about how the team has grown and changed since his time with them.
The Hall of Fame Legend, who also played for the Philadelphia Flyers, among other teams, was asked about his feelings towards the Blackhawk’s 2010 Stanley Cup win. While he was thrilled for the Hawks, he said it was painful to see the Flyers come so close.
“I was emotional for both cities,” said Roenick. “There’s no shame in crying or showing emotion. I’m passionate about all of my teams.”
Retired since August of 2009, Roenick now gives back to his community as much as he can, getting involved with the Special Kids Network and the Wounded Warrior Project on a regular basis and encouraging others (including athletes) to do the same.
From the excitement of the crowd to Roenick’s exuberant personality and captivating stories, this “Lunch with a Legend” was one that guests are sure to remember for years to come!
Reported by Lindsay Rafayko of Empower Public Relations
If you could sit in on a live “Lunch with a Legend” broadcast with the athlete of your choice, who would it be?
Serving Up Philly Steak, Brent Celek Style
The theme of the evening on Monday, November 14th, 2011 was certainly not just football. Philadelphia Eagles Tight End Brent Celek hosted his 2nd Annual Celebrity Server event at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Philadelphia. The celebrity-studded affair featured Celek and several of his teammates, including Jason Avant, Moise Fokou, LeSean “Shady” McCoy, Todd Herremans, Jon Dorenbos, and several others, who graciously spent their night-off of the field serving guests wine, appetizers and a signature Morton’s steak dinner to families and friends of Brent Celek’s Take Flight Foundation.
Notable Philadelphia personalities, Michael Barkann of SportsRadio WIP & Comcast Sports Net, and Tanya Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Soul and Philly.com were the night’s emcees. The crowd was quickly buzzing with excitement as players began circling the room with trays of hors d’oeuvres, only to quickly replace them with markers and footballs to sign. Photographers rushed to catch candid photo opportunities as the awe-struck kids in attendance approached Eagles players for the must-have pieces of memorabilia. LeSean “Shady” McCoy was the sure fan-favorite of the evening, as the line for his autograph trailed around the room.
From start to finish the evening was action-packed. Jon Dorenbos, who off the field spends his time as a magician, amused guests tableside, while the other players charmed guests with their serving skills. Players both chatted and entertained guests, sharing anecdotes about football, food and more. The well-spoken Celek took to the microphone for most of the evening; however, the always competitive Todd Herremans took over on the mic as he challenged Celek to a bidding war. In addition to the night’s live auction, Celek spoke about his commitment to the Take Flight Foundation – his dedication was clear as guests listened intently to his heart-warming stories of philanthropic work.
Celek and his teammates also donated signed jerseys and other Eagles paraphernalia to the silent auction. Additional must-have items included dinner with Brent at Morton’s, a trip for two to the ESPY’s, and a Costa Rica Couple’s Retreat at Four Seasons Resort. An enthusiastic crowd of 160 guests were in attendance.
Over $85,000 was raised at this year’s event with all proceeds from ticket sales and auctions going to the Brent Celek Take Flight Foundation, providing support and resources to children and families in need. The foundation focuses on providing seriously ill and physically challenged children throughout Greater Philadelphia with daily support and life changing experiences. The goal of the Take Flight Foundation is to have touched the lives of more than 2,000,000 children and their families by 2013.
Reported by Becky Levin, Cashman and Associates
CATCHING up with Detroit Lions Nate Burleson
The inaugural Nate Burleson Celebrity Server Event did not disappoint Lions fans. About 100 people attended the exclusive, private event held at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Troy, MI location on Monday November 14th, including Detroit Lions players, local business leaders and media. The event title sponsors included Quicken Loans and Fathead.
Proceeds from the event benefited the Nate Burleson CATCH Foundation whose purpose is to reach and teach area children and their families by providing them with educational tools to succeed as well as enriching their lives by showing them how to care for others, themselves and their future.
The event began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as guests mingled with their favorite Detroit Lions players, who also posed for photos and signed autographs. Following the cocktails and silent auction, guests took their seats and were served by the Detroit Lions, including Nate Burleson and Calvin Johnson. Other guest servers included: Quarterback Drew Stanton, Offensive Tackle Rob Sims and Former University of Michigan Basketball Star and member of the Fab 5, Jimmy King. The players took their responsibilities as servers very seriously as they masterfully poured wine, handled stacked salad plates and served guests prime steaks with grace and sophistication.
Following dinner, a live auction was led by Morton’s Troy General Manager, Steve Salmon. Bidding was fast and furious for items such as a private dinner for 4 with Nate Burleson, a game worn helmet and jersey from Nate and a Sommelier Wine and Cheese Experience in Napa Valley. Between the ticket sales, sponsorships, silent and live auction items, the event raised approximately $50,000 in its first year for Nate Burleson’s charity.
Media coverage included this wonderful recap by ABC affiliate, WXYZ-TV.
Reported by Jason Brown, PublicCity PR
Photos by Jerry Richart
High-Steaking with an NHL Legend
NHL and L.A. Kings legend Luc Robitaille hosted a Lunch with a Legend event yesterday at Morton’s The Steakhouse in downtown LA. The lunch was broadcast on EPSN Radio. Luc spoke with 710 ESPN hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley, and spoke about getting overlooked at the start of his career, what it was like to work with Wayne Gretzky, and the popularization of hockey and its eventual diminished popularity on the west coast. With 30 seconds left in the interview, Luc was asked to share one thing with his fans. Luc’s last words were, “Where is my steak?” You can listen to a podcast of the event by visiting: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/losangeles/play?id=7243974
Reported by Maryam Brown, Murphy O’Brien Public Relations
Who Dat! Morton’s New Orleans gets a “W” with its Second Annual Celebrity Server Event, featuring the New Orleans Saints
Morton’s The Steakhouse in New Orleans recently hosted the second annual Celebrity Server event featuring Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints. More than $201,000 was raised and proceeds from the event benefited The Jonathan Vilma Foundation. Although Vilma was called away from the event due to a personal emergency, his teammates came out in force to support their friend off the field.
In Vilma’s absence, Saints Defensive End, Will Smith took over as Master of Ceremonies. Smith and his exuberant Saints teammates served appetizers and wine, along with a four course dinner to the more than 200 guests in attendance.
Teammates who showed up in support of The Jonathan Vilma Foundation included Saints beloved QB Drew Brees, along with Jimmy Graham, Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, and Lance Moore. Fox Sports sideline reporter Jennifer Hale served as emcee for the evening. Among the guests were Saints owner Rita Benson LeBlanc, Mark Romig, CEO of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation and Klaus Frisch, co-founder of Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc.
The players took to the Morton’s dining room much like they do on a field on game day! They did a great job serving guests, taking photos, signing autographs and speaking with guests and local media. Morton’s received fantastic media coverage on The New Orleans Saints Celebrity Server event including The Times-Picayune; NOLA.com; WVUE-TV; CST; The Gambit; BestofNewOrleans.com; NewOrleansLocal.com; NewOrleansSaints.com; JonVilma.com; and Our Louisiana Magazine.
Reported by Carrie DeVries, The Ehrhardt Group
An NBA player lock-out couldn’t keep a packed crowd of fans from Morton’s The Steakhouse in downtown DC on November 2 for the latest installment of “Lunch with a Legend.” The live broadcast of ESPN980’s “The Sports Fix” brought together hosts Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro with legendary NBA all-stars Bobby Dandridge and Kevin Grevey, both instrumental members of the 1978 Washington Bullets championship team.
The ’78 finals pitted the Bullets against the Seattle Supersonics in a 7 game matchup that would come down to a final seconds dunk by Dandridge. Recalling the win, the two players laughed and tried to recall who was responsible not for the win, but rather the apparent lack of champagne in the locker room afterwards. As Dandridge told it, no one remembered to buy any just in case they won, so several of the players went to the Seattle locker room to ask for theirs. As expected that did not go over so well. So instead, the team loaded up on the bus, stopped at the first open convenience store on the road, and owner Abe Pollin bought the store’s entire stock of champagne!
Bother players laughed and recalled fond memories of the late, legendary Pollin, wondering just what he would do to keep today’s players happy.
Still hungry? Click here to learn more about Morton’s ‘Lunch with a Legend’ series throughout the U.S.
Reported by Anthony Hesselius, Linda Roth Associates, Inc.
Great food is always in abundance and delicious memories are delivered hot and fresh whenever you dine at Morton’s The Steakhouse. Plus you never know who you’ll run into – PGA TOUR players, comedians, local politicians or sports legends. At Morton’s, the options are endless.
Celeb-rating at Morton’s
On the evening of Monday , October 17th, Morton’s The Steakhouse in Northbrook was alive with energy and excitement as the Chicago Bears prepared for their 2nd Celebrity Servers Dinner featuring the unbelievably outgoing Cornerback, Charles Tillman. Chicago Bears players and their families, Morton’s VIPs, media, and steak lovers alike gathered to enjoy an evening of fine dining and fun in support of Charles Tillman’s Cornerstone Foundation, an organization that provides opportunities and resources to over one million Chicagoland children and families in need.
Tillman and teammates, including Anthony Adams, Lance Briggs, Matt Forte, Frank Omiyale, Patrick Manelly, Matt Toeaina, Caleb Hanie, Johnny Knox, Zackary Bowman, Corey Graham, Tim Jennings, D.J. Moore, Brandon Meriweather and Craig Steltz, traded in their signature orange and blue for Morton’s aprons as they passed wine and hors d’oeuvres and signed footballs for guests during the cocktail hour.
The dinner began with a few words from host Zach Zaidman, Sideline Reporter for the Chicago Bears Radio Network, Tom Lange, the General Manager of Morton’s in Northbrook, and Tillman, who introduced fellow teammates and explained his organization, the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation. He shared the story of his young three-year old daughter Tiana, who at three months old was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that slows the pumping of blood to the body. Now a vibrant toddler, Tiana survived with a heart transplant, and Tillman continues to tell her story to educate and inspire.
Smiling players juggled plates of salad and juicy prime steak to serve hungry guests, some even going as far as bussing the tables themselves! A silent auction setup included signed jerseys and memorabilia, trips, and other luxury items, while the rousing live auction included Tillman gear, signed photographs, a massive bottle of wine, and a one-of-a-kind golf trip, among others. Tillman captivated the crowd with his stories and jokes throughout the evening, especially during the auction as he ran across the restaurant from bidder to bidder, hugging them, taking photos, and encouraging everyone to give more.
Tillman’s enthusiasm and incredible dedication to his cause paid off, as the dinner raised nearly $150,000 in total. Since 2005, Tillman’s charitable efforts have impacted the lives of over one million Chicago-area children.
“My teammates really supported me and I think everyone had a lot of fun, I know I did”, said Tillman “We raised more than we ever had which means we can help more children in the Chicago-area, and that is what it is about.”
The Celebrity Servers Dinner with Charles Tillman was an incredible evening for a cause we can all stand behind – we hope you’ll join us next time!
Reported by Lindsay Rafayko, Empower Public Relations
Power Lunching with a Legend
Morton’s The Steakhouse in Woodland Hills hosted a special “Lunch with a Legend” event with Los Angeles Dodgers’ legend Steve Garvey on Wednesday, October 26. The event was hosted by ESPN hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley. Steve was in a great mood and shared some fun stories about his impressive career with the audience during his hour long interview. He also shared a special message to the Dodger’s fans in the audience, which was to “have patience and continue to have hope.”
Steve ended his interview by saying that he is always hopeful and always optimistic. Guests attending this special event enjoyed a three-course signature Morton’s lunch. This event is a part of Morton’s ongoing Lunch With A Legend series where they allow guests to interact with sports legends in an intimate setting.
Reported by Maryam Brown, Murphy O’Brien Public Relations
Are you ready for more celebrities? Throughout October, Morton’s welcomed…
Atlanta – Buckhead
New York Knicks Amar’e Stoudemire
Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Phaedra Parks
Actor Don Cheadle
Atlanta – Downtown
Atlanta Falcons Michael Turner
Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly
Actress Melissa McCarthy
Actors/Comedians Zach Galifianakas and Andy Richter
Actress Jenette McCurdy
Carolina Panthers Jeremy Shockey, R.J. Stanford, and Head Coach Ron Rivera
NASCAR’s Junior Johnson
Fox News Tobin Smith
Charlotte Bobcats Gerald Henderson
Davidson College’s Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bob McKillop
Chicago (State St.)
Chicago Blackhawks Marian Hossa and Michael Frolik
Comedian/Actor D.L. Hughley
NFL Agent Drew Rosenhaus
Former Cleveland Browns player Michael Dean Perry
Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon
Former NFL player Bernie Kosar
NBA Free Agent and current Chinese Basketball Association player Kenyon Martin
Florida Panthers Coaches and Players
Actor Dennis Haysbert and Actress Penelope Ann Miller
New Jersey Devils Ilya Kovalchuk
New York Jets Plaxico Burress
New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick
UFC Owners Dana White and Frank Fertitta along with other UFC members including Chuck Liddell, Keith Jardine, and Brendan Schaub
Actor/Comedian Dan Aykroyd
Comedians Lavell Crawford and Spike Davis (pictured left)
Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands John de Jongh
Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Rock Legend/Grammy Winner Robert Plant
PGA TOUR Golfer Kenny Perry
New Orleans Saints Robert Meachem, Sedrick Ellis, and Malcom Jenkins
Actor Arnold Vosloo
NBC Sports Executive Dick Ebersol and Reporter Michele Tafoya
Auction Hunters’ Clinton “Ton” Jones
Actor/Hollywood Military Consultant Harry Humphries
Judas Priest’s Glen Tipton and Ian Hill
Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers
Professional Snowboarder Danny Kass
NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre
Washington Redskins Dough Worthington
MLB Hall of Famer Frank Robinson
Director/Producer Steven Spielberg and his wife Actress Kate Capshaw
Producer Kathleen Kennedy
Actress Sally Field
PGA TOUR Golfer Chez Reavie (pictured below)
NBA Free Agent and Chinese Basketball Association player Wilson Chandler
Detroit Tigers Victor Martinez
Detroit Lions Rob Sims
Washington D.C. (Connecticut Ave.)
Speaker of the House John Boehner
Washington D.C. (Georgetown)
CNN Anchor John King
A Memorable Day and Night Out with NFL icon Dexter Manley, PGA TOUR’s Charley Hoffman and Houston Texans’ Owen Daniels!0
Power Lunching with a Legend: Dexter Manley
At Morton’s we call the series “Lunch with a Legend,” but Monday’s event in downtown DC was a pep rally of the finest sort. The rivalry between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys started on October 9, 1960 and has since become the greatest rivalry in the sport – maybe even in professional sports altogether.
The excitement for this week’s game was palpable as more than 150 Redskins fans, former players, families and media flooded Morton’s dining room for a live broadcast of ESPN980’s “The Sports Fix,” with hosts Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro. The sold out crowd donned jerseys from over the years, a majority sporting #72, the number worn by the day’s honoree, former Defensive End Dexter Manley .
Raucous applause erupted at mention of Manley’s legendary 66 sacks from 1982-1986 and his two Super Bowl rings. Former teammate Offensive Lineman George Starke arrived a few minutes late, but not without notice. Both men circled the room at commercial breaks taking photos with guests, signing autographs, and strategizing with fans how the Redskins defense could attack the injured Tony Romo.
In the end, the Cowboys prevailed in the final minutes of the game bringing the team’s record to 61-38-2 against the Redskins. The history won’t matter though. Like the classic American steakhouse, this legendary American tradition is here to stay.
Read all about it! Dexter Manley Lunch with a Legend media coverage included Washington Examiner.
Reported by Anthony Hesselius, Linda Roth Associates, Inc.
Morton’s The Steakhouse Scores a Hole-in-One With PGA TOUR Pro Charley Hoffman
The young guns of the golf world took over Morton’s The Steakhouse Las Vegas as UNLV Alumnus Charley Hoffman and 10 of his friends dropped their 7-irons to serve more than 160 guests. The guest servers who kept every wine glass filled and delivered hot entrees to the guests were Chris Riley, Bill Lunde, John Mallinger, Dean Wilson, Billy Horschel, Andres Gonzales, Ricky Barnes, D.J. Trahan, Chez Reavie and Troy Matteson.
The evening benefited the Charley Hoffman Foundation, which donated $18,000 each to five Las Vegas children’s charities – Goodie Two Shoes, Blessings in a Backpack, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Zelzah Shriners Transportation Fund. All-in-all, more than $90,000 was raised over the course of the day!
The Celebrity Server Event was the conclusion of a golf-filled day as Charley Hoffman hosted his annual Pro-Am at TPC Summerlin. Pro-Am participants, golf enthusiasts and Morton’s regulars filled the dining room with a high-energy atmosphere. Comedian George Lopez and baseball great Greg Maddux came to Morton’s as well and each won a live auction item! Maddux even donated an autographed baseball glove and baseball to the evening’s silent auction.
Morton’s first-ever Celebrity Server Event in Las Vegas was a tremendous success. A great deal of money was raised for charity, everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves and, most importantly, no plates were dropped by the guest servers!
Reported by Stephen Miller, Preferred Public Relations
OH, WHAT A NIGHT! 2nd Annual Owen Daniels Celebrity Server Event Scores Big
Cameras, lights, football stars and fans packed Morton’s the Steakhouse Houston Galleria the evening of September 26 for the 2nd Annual Owen Daniels Celebrity Server Dinner. The event sold out ten days prior and the 185 guests were ready to party and party they did. Beginning at 7 pm, Bar 12.21 was packed with guests shopping the silent action items, sampling the bar bites and ready for the action to start.
Houston Texans Tight End Owen Daniels called in the big hitters from the team to help with the fun and activities as Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, James Casey, Chris Myers, J.J. Watt, Shaun Cody, DeMeco Ryans, David Anderson, Steve Slaton, Garrett Graham and Brian Cushing demonstrated their waiter skills throughout the evening. Autographs were the number one request but players were busy refilling water glasses, serving wine, offering dressing for salads and being great sports.
The guests enjoyed a four course Morton’s dinner, silent auction, live auction including two trips to Cabo and opened their hearts and their wallets to help The Owen Daniels Catch a Dream Foundation. Highlights of the evening included the Texans players getting their waiter instructions from the Morton’s team and the live auction with Arian Foster, David Anderson and Shaun Cody demonstrating their auctioneer skills to the joy of the crowd. The big auction items were a Texans autographed 3 liter Monte Bello Red Blend bottle of wine being sold for $5,600 and the two trips to Cabo being sold for $15,000 each, all of which will benefit the Owen Daniels Catch a Dream Foundation.
Special news on the Morton’s Celebrity Server Dinners from Roger Drake, Morton’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications; “With two celebrity server events last night – one in Houston with Owen Daniels, and one in Las Vegas with Charley Hoffman and his PGA TOUR friends, Morton’s expects to exceed the $2 million dollar mark in proceeds raised over the past two years. Morton’s is proud to partner with stellar athletes and committed humanitarians such as Owen Daniels, who is truly focused on helping kids in Houston with his Catch a Dream Foundation work.”
Oh, what a night in Houston. Everyone went home with stories to tell, memories to cherish and knowing that they helped a great cause with Owen Daniels and the Catch a Dream Foundation.
Reported by Joe Pogge, Strike Marketing
“Show me the money!” You might recognize this line from the hit Tom Cruise movie Jerry Maguire. For Leigh Steinberg, of whom Jerry Maguire was based on, it was a common phrase in his life. The super sports agent, and the featured Legend in our Lunch with a Legend series at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Santa Ana, sat down for a lively Q&A with ESPN’s Max Kellerman and Mark Willard while Marcellus Wiley, a former player Steinberg represented, sounded off on the phone.
Super agent Leigh Steinberg has not only represented some of the biggest names in the NFL (Steve Young, Eric Dickerson, Steve Bartkowski, Ricky Williams, and Ben Roethlisberger to name a few), but he has also consulted on major motion pictures like Jerry Maguire, Any Given Sunday, and For Love of the Game.
Clearly from the interview, Leigh Steinberg wants professional football back in Los Angeles. He believes it will get done in the near future and provided reasons why it can happen. The Los Angeles-based crowd cheered in agreement. They also cheered when Steinberg said that Dodgers’ owner, Frank McCourt “needs to go back to Boston” and for him to give Los Angeles their Dodgers back.
One great thing about Steinberg is that he was not only a legendary agent that got players’ tons of money, but he also encouraged them to give back to the local communities. He said that even before Oprah, he was helping pay for down payments to single mothers’ first homes.
In attendance with our 103 guests were former Los Angeles Rams, Vince Ferragamo (another Lunch with a Legend featured guest as well) and Mike Lansford (who was represented by Steinberg). Just as the interview ended, Leigh stood up and stated: “It’s so nice to be here at Morton’s. I used to bring potential clients here and it was always great as long as my credit card worked.” We could not agree more.
For more behind-the-scenes action, read Los Angeles Times’ Steve Virgen’s blog re-cap.
Reported by Wayne Pua
NFL fever struck fans at Morton’s The Steakhouse in downtown DC hard last week when former Chicago Bears safety and Washington Redskins defensive line coach, Richie Petitbon joined ESPN980’s “The Sports Fix” hosts, Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro, for Lunch with a Legend.
The boardrooms were packed with fans sporting Redskins and Bears jerseys, the two teams with which he spent most of his career. Petitbon, though, was sporting one of what could have been any of his five Superbowl rings. He laughed with the sold-out crowd about his time with the Redskins during their ‘golden years’ from ’81 – ’92. He told tales of shutting out Joe Montana, winning the 1963 Superbowl against the Giants, and coaching alongside George Allen. Coach Petitbon even shared that he shamelessly cries every time he watches the true to life film “Brian’s Song,” based on the life of Brian Piccolo, a Wake Forest University football player stricken with terminal cancer after turning pro, and his friendship with Bears teammate, Gale Sayers.
The New Orleans native showed his true colors (burgundy and gold of course) though when asked a question about the Dallas Cowboys. Spoken like a true Washingtonian, he remarked that despite all his time playing and coaching in the NFL that “to this day I still hate Dallas.” If you’ve been to a game in DC you know just how loud the crowd got after that line! The three-course lunch left guests satisfied, but even more so knowing that yes, there will be an NFL season this year!
Reported by Anthony Hesselius, Linda Roth Associates, Inc. and Wayne Pua
Still hungry? Click here to learn more about Morton’s ‘Lunch with a Legend’ series throughout the U.S.
Even though we’re best known for our famous steaks, at Morton’s we don’t spend every moment behind the grill! Equally important to us is our commitment to charity and the sports community at large. Not only are we honored to be the “Official Steakhouse of the PGA TOUR,” but we’re extremely proud of all the heart-warming charitable events that we host throughout the year at our 77 Morton’s steakhouses around the world. From football and baseball greats at our Celebrity Server dinners to beloved Hall of Famers at Lunch with a Legend (LWAL), the art of giving – and serving up great memories – is alive and well at Morton’s!
LWAL: Deacon Jones and Vince Ferragamo at Morton’s The Steakhouse, Downtown Los Angeles
On July 20, football-minded fans enjoyed a great meal with NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones and former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo who had the room laughing and smiling from the first course through dessert.
Regarded as one of the best defensive ends of all time, Deacon Jones has played for the LA Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins. Ferragamo, who dominated the field when the LA Rams went to Super Bowl XIV, has played for the Buffalo Bills , Green Bay Packers, and even played in the Canadian Football League. Both took time out of there busy schedules to come into Morton’s The Steakhouse in Los Angeles on Figueroa Street and interact with their #1 fans.
ESPN radio hosts, Mark Willard and Max Kellerman, asked Jones and Ferragamo how they felt about Farmers Field and LA having a football team again and both agreed it would be great for the community – especially the fans!
To listen to the Deacon Jones and Vince Ferragamo podcast visit http://espn.go.com/espnradio/losangeles/play?s=la&id=6787756. To view the ESPN slideshow, click here.
Reported by Wayne Pua and Spenser Dayoub, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Downtown Los Angeles (Figueroa). Photo credit: ESPN Los Angeles.
Celebrity Server with Ryan Howard at Morton’s The Steakhouse, Philadelphia
On Thursday, July 21st, 2011, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard hosted his 2nd Celebrity Server event at Morton’s in Philadelphia. The event featured Howard and several of his teammates, including Cliff Lee, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, and many more, who all graciously traded in their gloves and caps for aprons and notepads, as they spent their night-off of the field serving guests a memorable steak dinner.
Not only did they donate their time, but Howard and his teammates also donated signed jerseys and other Phillies paraphernalia to the silent auction. Additional must-have items included a jersey from Boston Celtics small forward, Paul Pierce, and a signed Muhammad Ali boxing glove. All proceeds from the event’s ticket sales and silent auction went to the Ryan Howard Family Foundation to support underprivileged families in the greater Philadelphia region. A sold-out crowd of over two hundred guests were in attendance to support the cause. Launched in 2009, the foundation focuses on “improving quality of life” for disadvantaged youth and families in the Philadelphia and St. Louis metropolitan areas through the development and implementation of programs that advance education, nutrition, physical fitness, and socio-economic status.
For more coverage of the Ryan Howard Celeb Server event, visit Phillychitchat.com.
Reported by Alexa Darrow, Cashman and Associates. Photo credit: Alexa Darrow.
LWAL: Pat Fitzgerald at Morton’s The Steakhouse, Wacker Place
Over 70 guests gathered in the boardroom of Morton’s The Steakhouse Wacker Place on July 26, as ESPN’s Waddle & Silvy broadcast live with Northwestern University Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald for another installment in Morton’s acclaimed Lunch with a Legend Series. Diners enjoyed a signature Morton’s menu, including the famed Single Cut Filet Mignon with béarnaise and decadent Double Chocolate Mousse, while Fitzgerald discussed everything from Northwestern athletics to Chicago sports.
To listen to the Pat Fitzgerald podcast visit http://espn.go.com/espnradio/chicago/play?s=chicago&id=6803561.
Enjoy this Q&A with Pat Fitzgerald from ESPN Chicago: http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/colleges/post/_/id/3260/fitzgerald-nu-means-that-much-to-me.
Reported by Lindsay Rafayko, Empower Public Relations. Photo credit: Lindsay Rafayko.
LWAL: Morgan Wootten at Morton’s The Steakhouse, Connecticut Avenue
Morton’s The Steakhouse – Connecticut Avenue
ESPN980’s “The Sports Fix” hosts Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro set up shop at Morton’s The Steakhouse in downtown DC today in front of a packed house of fans anxious to hear the guest of honor and legendary local high school basketball coach, Morgan Wootten .
Coach Wootten, the most successful basketball coach at any level…ever, joined guests for a lunch of (appropriately so) the best steak anywhere. Those in attendance got the chance to hear the legendary coach reflect on his time at DeMatha Catholic High School in nearby Hyattsville, MD where from 1956-2002 he earned an all-time record of 1274-192, making him the winningest coach in the history of the sport. How’s that for legendary?
The live discussion covered everything from Coach Wootten’s watershed win in 1965 over then undefeated Power Memorial Academy to his take on the best and most memorable moments in local DC sports history. Wootten recalled friend and fellow coach Red Auerbach telling him after a painful one point loss in triple overtime, “You became a spectator Morgan. You lost the feel of the game,” and therefore, he was told, he lost quite easily in fact. Wooten went on to remind the crowd both at Morton’s and over the airwaves that no matter what you endeavor in your life, you have to keep the feel of your game, and you’ll never win.
Over the two hours Wootten received resounding applause from the sold out crowd, but we would be remiss as The Official Steakhouse of the Washington Redskins if we failed to mention another round of applause that erupted midway through a news break. Host Kevin Sheehan broke from his interview with Coach Wootten to announce that today the Redskins re-signed wide receiver Santana Moss, former Baltimore Raven Donte Stallworth, and the Giants’ Barry Cofield.
All told, it was a great day for Washington sports fans at Morton’s!
Reported by Anthony Hesselius, Linda Roth Associates, Inc. Photo credit: Anthony Hesselius.
“Cubs fans are the greatest. These are the best fans by far.” – Andre Dawson
One of the greatest baseball players in history, Andre Dawson sat down with Cubs fans for the latest “Lunch with a Legend” at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Chicago at Wacker Place. After warmly acknowledging applauds from a sea of Cubs and Dawson jerseys, “The Hawk”, discussed his storied and accolade-heavy career during the live taping of ESPN 1000′s The Waddle & Silvy Show . During the legendary lunch, the former National League Rookie of the Year (Montreal Expos) and Most Valuable Player (Chicago Cubs) answered fan questions and hung out to take pictures and autograph memorabilia.
At one point, Marc “Silvy” Silverman noticed that Dawson, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010, was wearing his World Series ring from 2003 with the Florida Marlins (they beat the Chicago Cubs in the semifinals). Silvy asked if Dawson, who currently works as a Special Assistant to the President of the Florida Marlins, felt guilty about beating the Chicago Cubs during the playoffs. Dawson admitted the toughest part was the reaction from Cubs fans.
“It was bittersweet. I couldn’t enjoy the moment because I really saw the hurt (from the Chicago Cubs fans),” recalls Dawson. “When you heard the hush that came through the ballpark and how the fans knew that it was just snatch away from them. Of course I was excited for the Florida Marlins organization. That’s where my loyalty was, but [Chicago] was a team I had followed throughout the whole season.”
Not only was Dawson one of six players to have attained 300 homeruns and 300 stolen bases for a career highlight, he redefined the meaning of a gentleman athlete and a team player. Or as Silvy likes to say: A CLASS ACT!
Still hungry? Click here to learn more about Morton’s ‘Lunch with a Legend’ series throughout the U.S.
Cleveland Browns Running Back Peyton Hillis Entertains Fans at Morton’s Cleveland “Dinner with a Legend”0
A humble, gracious and confident Peyton Hillis joined more than 100 Browns fans Sunday afternoon for the latest “Dinner with a Legend” at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Cleveland. The program is produced with media partner WKNR ESPN Cleveland 850 AM.
The “Madden 2012” cover boy (he beat out Michael Vick!) and star running back told the loyal fans he is deeply appreciative of the opportunity the Cleveland Browns gave him and he feels “blessed” to play in front of the greatest fans in the NFL. Hillis stopped by Morton’s after running a weekend football camp for area youths that drew rave reviews for its comprehensive nature.
While the crowd enjoyed their Morton’s dinner, Hillis was interviewed by ESPN Cleveland’s Michael Reghi and Kenny Roda. They noted that after three years in the league, Hillis has become a league star and has better stats than his former Arkansas teammates Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.
ESPN Cleveland’s Reghi and Roda also noted there was significantly more women attending this dinner than for previous “Dinner with a Legend” events. They said Hillis has become very popular “with the ladies” (all females in attendance roared their approval!); Hillis replied Cleveland is full of beautiful women, but he needed to stay focused on football.
Morton’s Cleveland Executive Chef Paul Kalberer and his kitchen team prepared a fabulous dinner of filet mignon, Shrimp Alexander, sauteed green beans and creamy mashed potatoes. A Caesar salad to start and a piece of refreshing cheesecake…with the legendary Morton’s bread in the middle – sent the crowd home delighted, yet ready to the NFL season to begin soon (we all hope).
Hillis joins a long list of Cleveland sports stars who’ve appeared at the “Dinner with a Legend” program, from Bernie Kosar, Kenny Lofton, Austin Carr, Mark Price, NASCAR’s Tony Stewart and Craig Ehlo, to ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and Jim Rome. For more information on Prime Events at Morton’s, visit http://www.mortons.com/primeevents/.
Reported by Terry Uhl, The Uhl Group