Chicago’s latest food hall — featuring 10 different vendors — debuts today with a unique way to order food. Forum 55 stands on the concourse level of the 50-story Mid-Continental Plaza at 55 E. Monroe Street. Aimed at Loop office workers, the food hall will offer customers a choice between cheffy burgers, ramen, tamales, pierogis, and more. They’ll also have access to some high-caliber caffeine from Sparrow Coffee.
Click here for a list of vendors. They include Friends Sushi, Flo & Santos, Pork & Mindy’s, and Butcher & Larder. There’s also a grab-and-go option, The Monroe Street Market, inside. Here are the breakfast offerings, and the lunch menus are here. While customers can stop in today, a rep cautions that not all vendors will be open, in particular the salad bar. They anticipate to be at 100 percent on Monday, October 23.
The ordering process involves computerized kiosks and customers’ cell phones. Customers punch their orders in on kiosks and receive a paper receipt with a number. When the order’s ready, that number will flash on a flatscreen. If customers don’t want to watch for their number, they can opt for a text notification. The food hall doesn’t accept cash, and customers can also order online. Formerly the Under 55 Cafe, the space has been remodeled with everyone’s favorite restaurant design element: Edison bulbs. There’s room for 270 and an assortment of low- and high-top tables.
There are two rotating vendors at the food hall. The first is a station that rotates weekly, which is operated by the food hall’s owners, Eurest. This week it will feature Indian food. Next week will be Korean, followed by “Earth Bowl” vegetarian, then Italian, and then Asian. The second pop-up is trumpeted as one that will help restaurateurs of color and women. It’s called The Apron Exchange. Dia de los Tamales, which recently announced a new location at Block 37, is the first vendor involved. It will serve a variety of creative tamales made popular at its original Pilsen spot.
Check out the photos below. Forum 55, for the most part, is now open.
Forum 55, 55 E. Monroe Street, open 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for breakfast and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch on weekdays. The Monroe Street Market’s open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.