Bankrupt Cité restaurant owned by ex-NY first lady sold for $4M

Evangeline Gouletas had the property for decades

A photo illustration of the Cité restaurant in Lake Point Tower (Facebook/Cité, Getty Images)
A photo illustration of the Cité restaurant in Lake Point Tower (Facebook/Cité, Getty Images)

A bankrupt rooftop restaurant in Lake Point Tower owned for decades by New York’s former first lady will be sold to the owner of a Mexican restaurant chain.

A venture led by Al Lotfi agreed to buy the Cité restaurant, on the 70th floor of the high-rise, for $4.15 million, Crain’s reported. The sale, which still needs a judge’s approval, would end a years-long legal battle between the courts and the restaurant’s owner, Evangeline Gouletas.

Lotfi’s venture agreed to pay $2 million for the 5,200-square-foot restaurant and about 2,400 square feet of commercial space on the second floor. Lotfi, who said he plans to operate Cité as a fine-dining restaurant with the same 25-person staff that includes Chef Oscar Ornelas, is also paying $2.1 million for its equipment and inventory.

“The place has a lot of potential,” Lotfi told the outlet. “It just needs some love and care. It’s the best view in Chicago.”

Lofti, who opened his first restaurant in LaGrange in 1994, owns a chain of six Casa Margarita restaurants, including one in the base of Lake Point Tower. The others are in La Grange, Orland Park, Bolingbrook, Hinsdale and Downers Grove.

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The sale price won’t cover the restaurant’s full $6.1 million debt. Republic Bank of Chicago is the largest creditor and will get at least $3.4 million of the $3.6 million it’s owed.

Gouletas, who has owned the restaurant for decades, lives in Miami, where she runs the real estate business Skyline Equities. Gouletas managed to stave off a $5.7 million foreclosure on the Lake Point Tower property in 2012 by refinancing it with a new loan from Republic in 2015. The bank filed to foreclose on the restaurant in October 2019.

She was married to New York Gov. Hugh Carey from 1981 to 1989.

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Evangeline Gouletas and Cité restaurant in Lake Point Tower (Cité Restaurant)
Rooftop restaurant in Chicago’s Lake Point Tower for sale amid bankruptcy

— Victoria Pruitt