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Serving the Loop and Near North neighborhoods of downtown Chicago
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(Above) St. Patrick’s Day revelers at Dick’s Last Resort at Marina City on March 17, 2012. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

14-Dec-19 – If your mama has not yet warned you about Dick’s Last Resort, she will now. The restaurant chain, known for its laid-back atmosphere and obnoxious servers, has been sold to Déjà vu Services, Inc., operator of approximately 132 strip clubs in the United States and five other countries.

Based in Las Vegas, the company says it is the largest strip club operator in the world. Déjà vu operates adult retail stores and adult online businesses but also restaurants, nightclubs, and even karaoke bars.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Left) Elvis impersonator Pete Tidd selects a scarf from assistant Thomas Adamson while performing in a contest at Dick’s Last Resort on January 8, 2009.

Ryan Carlson, Director of Operations for Déjà vu, confirmed the sale on Friday, as did Dick’s new local manager, Doug Jones, who started at the River North restaurant as a server.

“We are pleased to be affiliated with the Dick’s Last Resort brand and look forward to growing this chain to new heights,” said Carlson. “Dick’s is an excellent concept that will be fun to expand further on the national scene.”

According to Jones, no significant changes are expected at the Chicago location under the new ownership.

Founder has checkered past but strip club is powerhouse in adult entertainment industry

Déjà vu was founded by Harry Mohney, who is now 76 years old. Mohney started his career in the adult entertainment business in Durand, Michigan, in 1966 with theaters, bookstores, peep machines, and film and novelty distributors.

With a partner, Roger Forbes, Mohney opened the first Déjà vu strip club in Seattle in 1985. By then, Mohney was considered the nation’s biggest adult entertainment entrepreneur.

His partners in strip clubs in Las Vegas include publisher Larry Flynt and musician Vince Neil of Motley Crüe.

(Right) Jimmy Flynt, Larry Flynt’s brother, presents Deja Vu owner Harry Mohney (right in photo) with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2005 AVN (Adult Video News) Awards in Las Vegas on October 24, 2008.

Jimmy Flynt and Harry Mohney

In the 1990s, Mohney served three years in prison for filing false income tax returns. More recently, a national class action lawsuit against Déjà vu reached a $6.5 million settlement with more than 28,000 exotic dancers who alleged workplace exploitation.

Chicago Dick’s was independently owned for nine years

There have been as many as 17 Dick’s Last Resort locations but now there are 13.

Promoting itself as “the joint yer mama warned you about,” the Chicago restaurant started in the River East neighborhood and in 2008 moved to its present location at Marina City.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

Later that year, a group of investors that included Nashville restauranteur Edwin Moats, Jr., purchased six of the restaurants – all but the one in Chicago – from Dallas entrepreneur Steven Schiff and moved DLR Restaurants from Dallas to Nashville. The company had an option to buy the remaining Chicago location but chose not to.

In November 2016, DLR Restaurants was purchased by investors led by Medley Capital Corporation of New York. The Chicago location was finally purchased by DLR in October 2017.

There are Dick’s Last Resort restaurants in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Gatlinburg (Tennessee), Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Myrtle Beach (South Carolina), Nashville, Panama City Beach (Florida), Pigeon Forge (Tennessee), and San Antonio.