Marion Street Grille closing in August

Owner Terry Thulis to 'take a break and move on' after 19 years

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

It's been a 19-year run for Marion Street Grille, 189 N. Marion St., but owner Terry Thulis says he's closing up shop in early August.

Thulis said in a telephone interview Monday that the restaurant, which specializes in steaks, chops and seafood, has had a good run but never fully recovered from the economic downturn of past years.

"Sales have been soft ever since the economy failed," he said. "They say there is an economic recovery, but it has not reached Marion Street yet."

He said that about 10 years ago town houses were built on the parking lot across the street from his business, making it harder for customers to come to the restaurant. Intermittent streetscaping projects over the years also made it difficult to reach the restaurant, Thulis said.

Revenue also took a hit from new restaurants coming to the village over the years, he said.

"There were eight restaurants in downtown when I started (in 1995) now there are 30," he said.

The restaurant was featured on the popular restaurant review show "Check, Please!" on WTTW in 2012.

Thulis said in a news release that he plans to "take a break and move on" and plans to spend more time with his partner, Diana Ostreko, owner of Ostreko Massage Therapy, 1024 North Blvd.

"I want to thank the Oak Park community and Marion Street Grille staff, as well as our loyal, regular customers since 1995," Thulis said in a news release.

He sent out a special thanks to Marion Street Grille regulars George Wendt, John Mahoney and Eric Anderson, who have supported the restaurant for years.

Thulis encouraged those with gift certificates to use them before the restaurant closes on Aug. 9

Contact:
Email: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

29 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

McGregor from Former Oak Parker  

Posted: August 7th, 2014 10:25 AM

I wish to send big hugs and well wishes to Terry and the staff at The Marion street Grille. I worked there for 3 years during my stint in the Chicago area and I couldn't have been hired at a better place. The food was wonderful, the patrons were loyal and Terry and the staff were and always will be "family" to me. I hope Terry finds some rest and discovers a new passion that he can share with the world. All my best to everyone!

FenwickFan from Oak Park  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 6:34 PM

Be Nice - I think OPer has the right to express his/her opinion. Based on my visits over the years, I can't disagree. Terry wants you to tell all your friends about MSG but was never willing to offer a free dessert if you referred someone. Martinis were very small and high priced. Terry offers up a ton of excuses why he closed. At the end of the day he as the owner is accountable for his success. Maybe he ran out of ideas and just failed to adapt. On a personal level, I wish Terry the best.

Donna Chen from Tampa  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 4:23 PM

Congrats to Terry on his successful run. I remember when he opened his doors and had enjoyed his restaurant, a wonderful addition to the downtown, and appreciated his involvement in the downtown community. Cheers to you my friend!

Be Nice from OP from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2014 5:38 PM

Seriously, OPer - your comment is unnecessary. Didn't you ever learn that if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. How about if we just wish them well in their next adventure?

OPer from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2014 3:40 PM

Good riddance. Extremely rude and snobby service and management. Hope something better fills its spot.

OPDad  

Posted: July 30th, 2014 1:32 PM

Maybe HOPE can file a complaint to force a ribs restaurant into the vacant space.

EBA from Oak Park  

Posted: July 30th, 2014 10:15 AM

Fantastic spot. Sorry to see it close. Terry was a fantastic host. Good luck in your new endeavors! Cheers!

Kathy from River Forest, formerly OP  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 10:45 PM

SO sorry to hear this news. One of my favorite restaurants in the area. Broken hearted. This was a restaurant for special eves. We will miss you! Best regards for your new lease on life. Hopefully you will now have time to stop and smell the roses. Good luck!

Jackie from Oak Park  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 11:40 AM

Hate to see it go. I loved the fish dishes, especially the Chilean Sea Bass.

Al  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 10:57 AM

I AM A HOMOSEXUAL AND THIS RESTAURANT WAS GAY-FRIENDLY BEFORE IT WAS COOL

Val Camilletti from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 10:12 AM

Congratulations Terry, you made it work for 19 years. That is no small feat. All the best for the next 19...and many more. Thanks, and happy memories

Kris Gallagher from Oak Park  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 9:23 AM

This is heartbreaking to hear. Marion Street Grille has been one of our favorites, our go-to place anytime something needs celebrating. There is nothing nearby that compares. Best wishes always to Terry and his staff; you will be missed!

louis frillman from seattle  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 6:56 AM

When my mother was on her last trip and in OP Hospital, i ate at Marion over 30 days probably 25 nights. There was never anyone more inviting than Terry. Always a kind word, good drink, great meal. The all time best ribs in the US ever. You will be missed.

Bittersweet from Oak Park  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 1:03 AM

Marion Street Grille was one of our top three go-to places for a nice meal. But over the past several years, the prices went up, yet the quality went down. A letter sent to the owner after one particularly poor experience went unanswered. And despite the challenging economic and competitive landscape, other restaurants have flourished. That said, we toast the staff, and wish you all well. Thank you.

Mel and Charlene Graham from Forest Park  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 10:44 PM

Before moving from Oak Park, Marion Street Grill was our favorite "go to" restaurant for intimate dining and consistently quality food. We often would drop by while walking our dog. (One summer. Terry offered a fabulous $10.50 plate for early birds; who could beat that!!!!!.)He was always gracious, making each guest feel special. Terry, you and your wonderful establishment will be missed. Good Luck!

In Appreciation of Marion Street Grille  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 10:24 PM

I agree that "the owner was always so accommodating". We loved that restaurant back to when it was Mary's Place (previous owner). Terry's got it right though, when the economy slumped, we pretty much cut out going out to dinner. Taxes didn't get any lower either. You have to cut out something. Terry, you faithfully served up quality food though, your specials were great, you made the front of that place look so nice, you ran an excellent place for 19 years. Amazing! Best wishes to you and Diana

Joanne Murray from River Forest  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 10:04 PM

Terry Tullis was a great host and always entertained us with a good Irish joke. One of the best filets in the area. You and your restaurant will be truly missed.

To bad, food was good from Oak Park  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 9:59 PM

Too bad, his food was good. Reliable. Never had a bad meal. If he was so bad, he would't of lasted as long as he did. Meanwhile, all the people who say "food to pricey" or something similar, would like to see them open up a restaurant and keep prices low. What a joke. Best wishes to the owner, you certainly put your time in. In other breaking news, someone in the comments is just pointing out that empty storefronts are no good, quick, someone alert the press.

DeJordy  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 9:08 PM

Prices got high and you got the impression he was unaware people had other options.

Marion Street Grille Fan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 8:55 PM

This is so disappointing. We celebrated signing the contract for our house in Oak Park at Marion Street Grille thirteen years ago and have returned many times for special occasions or just a pleasant evening. Alway felt welcome and always felt cared for there. Good luck to Terry in his next endeavor, whatever that might be.

Lori M  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 8:21 PM

Went there once food so so. Extremely snobby.

Ann from Oak Park  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 7:59 PM

So sad to hear about this closing ? thanks to all there for the great meals and service. They have the best ribs in the world. We have so many fond memories of special occasions celebrated at Marion Street Grille. We'll miss this restaurant.

Katina from Oak Park   

Posted: July 28th, 2014 7:25 PM

I never got a chance to try them. I'm sad to see them go. I hope Oak Park has a strong plan in place to attract new business. Empty store front drives property valued down.

Oakparkbob  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 7:09 PM

I don't like seeing any & especially OP businesses close. I used to go this establishment a few times a year, but haven't gone in about 5 years. It seemed over-priced and a little too staid compared to the many new restaurants in the area. I guess it was just supply & demand that did them in.

Ed from Oak park  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 6:14 PM

Such a shame, the owner was always so accommodating

Marie  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 3:32 PM

I'm sure the frogs are happy!

Foomer  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 2:22 PM

Sorry to see an oak park business go, hopefully a new tenent is found soon, I am a little confused though, how can you say that the bad economy is what is causing you to close and then say that the 22 nw restaurants opening are also responsible, if the economy is so bad on Marion street then how did all those new options open up?

Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 2:21 PM

This makes me sad. I really enjoyed this place before we had kids.

clancy  

Posted: July 28th, 2014 2:14 PM

Bummer! They served wonderful frog legs! I don't eat out enough to keep a restaurant in business, but this is a real loss to Oak Park.

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