DETROIT – Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chis Chelios sold the building which housed his sports bar Cheli’s Chili Bar to Ilitch Holdings, the company which began Little Caesars in 1959, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. The downtown Detroit Cheli’s location had closed on November 24. The other two locations in Dearborn and Clinton Township had closed in 2013.
Chelios retired from hockey in 2010 and worked as an adviser for the Red Wings’ front office. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 8, 2013 and was named by the NHL as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history in 2017.
Located at 47 E. Adams Avenue, the building was sold for $4.1 million last month, Crain’s reported, adding that it “sits across from Comerica Park and down the street from Little Caesars Arena, was purchased by 47 E. Adams Ave. LLC, an entity registered to John Kotlar, according to city property records. Kotlar is vice president of tax affairs for Ilitch Holdings Inc.”
Chelios was born in Chicago and plans to move back to his hometown “to be closer to family,” Crain’s reported, noting that Chelios purchased the property in 2005 for $1.25 million and the bar included two floors and a rooftop patio.
It is not yet known what will fill the Cheli’s space and Ilitch Holdings did not respond to requests for comment at press time.
Chelios spent a decade with the Red Wings as a player from 1999-2009, and was also an adviser for the team. His Hall of Fame career as a defenseman started in Montreal before he spent eight years with the Blackhawks.
“For me, this is an opportunity to move back to Chicago to be closer to family, and in particular my mother,” Chelios said when the announcement was made at the end of July 2018 that he would be leaving Detroit. “I began to seriously consider moving home last February after the passing of my father. Now that my children have all graduated, it seems like the ideal time for my wife, Tracee, and I to make the move.”
Chelios was traded to Detroit in March 1999 and he remained with the Red Wings through the 2008-09 season before finishing his career with a brief stint with Atlanta in 2009-10.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Red Wings organization over the last 19 years,” Chelios said. “Admittedly, I was skeptical about the 1999 trade that brought me to Detroit. As a Chicago guy who was playing for the Blackhawks at the time, we despised those Detroit teams of the 1990s. After the trade, however, things changed quickly and I began to feel right at home.”
Chelios and the Red Wings won Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008. “What an unbelievable experience, playing on some of the greatest teams in league history, with some of the greatest players of all-time,” Chelios said. “I consider myself extremely lucky to have been a part of it all. The Cup-winning teams in 2002 and 2008 are the obvious highlights, but I’m grateful for every chance I had to put on a Red Wings sweater.”
Chelios’ son Jake is a defenseman as well and is in the Red Wings’ organization.
Chelios is of Greek heritage. His cousin, Nikos Tselios, also played professional hockey and is a former first round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes. Chelios was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 8, 2013.
Chelios grew up in Chicago, Illinois, where his father, Constantine “Gus” Chelios, owned a chain of Greek restaurants. The family name was originally “Tselios,” but Gus chose to change the family’s spelling.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.