After whisking our way past the work of epic masters via The Art Institute of Chicago, Maxime and I launched our umbrella and darted onto a rain drenched sidewalk. We hustled in unison through Millennium Park bound for a leisurely lunch. Sitting on the cusp of the cities famous park, The Gage offers a perfect space to break from a summer storm.
The Gage originally opened in 2007 and is situated in a group of three buildings (18, 24 and 30 South Michigan Avenue) collectively known as the Gage Group. They were built in 1889-1890 by Holabird & Roche for the millinery firms of Gage Bros. & Co., Theadore Ascher & CO. and Edson Keith & Co. The facades, which resulted from master architect Louis Sullivan’s collaboration with Holabird & Roche, demonstrate two different approaches to the Chicago School, a design movement that led to the creation of modern commercial architecture. With their simple external structure visually expressing the underlying skeleton and little applied ornamentation, the buildings foreshadow the Chicago skyscrapers of the 1960s and 1970s.
We arrived at the height of lunch-rush and I took a quick tour of the space to appraise the clientele. Zooming past a long vintage bar and in to intimate dining room there was a clear mix of Wall Street type business suits and tourists who had spilled out of Millennium Park after taking selfies of themselves in front of The Bean.
After being seated at a comfy u-booth I ran through the menu and was pleased to see the jovial tavern ambiance paired perfectly with the chefs upscale comfort culinary offering. Decadence defined via Scotch Egg, crispy Battered Fried Pickles, Grilled Hanger Steak on baby iceberg salad and a House Poutine (a nod to Montreal) featuring duck confit, pickled red onion, Wisconsin cheese curds, jalapeños and smoke box gravy. Behind the bar classic cocktails are given a classy makeover, liquid pleasantries via Yesterday’s Nonsense (ford’s gin, rhubarb syrup, aperol, lemon, grapefruit) and Old Cuban (bacardi 8 year, lime, mint, santome, prosecco, angostura).
The storm clouds seemed to slump off the city just as we dug our forks into a duo of desserts. A memorable sweet finish featuring Irish Coffee Donut’s and Peanut Butter French Silk Pie. Waddling through revolving door, we spilled onto the street and were greeted by the kiss kiss of sweet sunshine.
ford’s gin, rhubarb syrup, aperol, lemon, grapefruit
bacardi 8 year, lime, mint, santome, prosecco, angostura
duck confit, pickled red onion, wisconsin cheese curds, jalapenos, smoke box gravy
PBR Battered Fried Pickles
smoked serrano aioli
Grilled Hanger Steak
baby iceberg, candied bacon, salemville bleu, horseradish vinaigrette
Irish Coffee Donut
jameson glaze, guiness caramel, bailey’s ice cream, espresso peach compote
Peanut Butter French Silk Pie
graham cracker crust, milk chocolate fudge, peanut brittle