After enjoying an afternoon at Soldier Field, J and I decided to just stay in downtown Chicago. We’ve never spent the night away from L, so this was going to be odd.
We checked in to our room at the Central Loop Hotel about 4:30. Instead of paying twice for parking, we figured it would be cheaper if we just parked at the hotel in the morning and walked to Soldier Field. We didn’t realize it was almost a three mile walk, but we both enjoyed the exercise and just seeing the streets of our favorite city.
I made a reservation through open table for Chuck’s Manufacturing at 6:30. It was about a fifteen minute walk from where we were at and I needed a little bit of a nap between the game and dinner.
We actually timed our walk almost perfectly as we walked in to the restaurant right on Michigan Avenue at about 6:20. We checked in with the host (who didn’t mark us down through Open Table, so I initially didn’t get credit for the dinner and got a scolding email about no-showing) and were shown to a U-shaped table near the back of the dining room.
The space at Chuck’s is really interesting. I really don’t know how to explain. I suppose I can just take the lazy route and let them tell you how they describe it.
Inside the space, the use of bold acrylics pays homage to the plastics that helped mold Chuck’s career. The bright cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) colors used in our logo and inside the space not only bring a dramatic aesthetic to the dining environment, but they represent manufacturing in its most basic form. The CMYK color combination is the base of all color construction.
The whole space looks like it’s built from PVC pipes, but upon further inspection, it was metal pipes meant to look like PVC. Each table had access to a couple of USB ports for charging cell phones, but I forgot my charger at home. Somehow, I made it through the day and into the next on a full charge.
One of the big complaints I read about Chuck’s was the noise. The restaurant is attached to the Hard Rock Hotel, so it’s a little expected that music would be a big part of the atmosphere. There was a steady old school hip hop track playing throughout our whole meal, but it was not loud by any means. We were able to have a conversation at a comfortable level and interact with our waiter without having to yell.
Even though we had been drinking most of the day at the football game, we both wanted to really indulge since we didn’t have to drive anywhere or worry about taking care of a little one. They don’t have a huge craft beer list, but they do have some great, local selections. I went with the Revolution Oktoberfest. It was brought the table in the can and I was given a pint glass to pour it in to.
J was excited to get a cocktail and immediately decided on the Chuck’s Cherry Coke. The specialty drink is Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka, Coke, Cherry Vanilla Bitters, and a drunken cherry. She said it was delicious and actually ordered a second after we got our food.
When our waiter came back, we decided to just skip the appetizer and order dinner. No surprise. I ordered Chuck’s Burger. The Angus Beef Burger is topped with Chuck’s BBQ sauce, cheddar, and fried onions. It’s served on a brioche bun with choice of regular or sweet potato fries. I asked for the burger to be cooked medium and it was perfectly cooked medium. There was a perfect pink center with a well seared outer crust. The BBQ sauce was slightly sweet and helped keep the bun on the sandwich. The fries were plentiful, but nothing really special. I was hoping for a hand cut fry or something a little more upscale, but they were pretty typical restaurant style fries.
J opted for a salad and a side. For the salad choice, she chose the Arugula salad which comes topped with goat cheese, spiced pecans, grilled pears and a cider vinaigrette. The first thing she said was that there was a lot of arugula. It was a large salad. She said later she enjoyed it, but there was too much there for her to eat.
As for the side, she selected Carrie’s Mac. This twist on mac & cheese features five cheeses, red bell pepper, yellow onion, and spices. The veggies made this dish stand out as not your typical mac & cheese. J only shared a bite with me. She didn’t want to give any of it up.
After finishing off the meals, our waiter came over and asked about dessert. For once, we weren’t in a hurry and really wanted to enjoy a meal, so we said yes. We wanted dessert.
We ended up with two selections. We got a Cheesecake and a gelato trio.
The cheesecake with a NY Style made with honey. It was plated with a raspberry sauce and a couple of raspberries on top. I, being the cheesecake lover, ate a big portion of this, but we went back and forth between the two with J get a pretty fair share of the cheesecake.
The second selection was a gelato trio. Not sure if it was home made or where it came from, but it was delicious. We got a scoop of vanilla, a scoop of chocolate, and scoop of caramel. J liked the vanilla the best, but I thought the caramel was pretty tasty. All three were good and a great end to the meal.
Our bill, before tip, was right at $80. Our meal took a little over and hour and we both enjoyed the rare time alone. After making the reservation to Chuck’s, I was a little worried that it wouldn’t be the relaxing meal we so desperately needed, but it turned out to be just that as well as delicious with a little Snoop Dogg in the background.