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Inside the Revamped Pump Room, Now Open From Lettuce Entertain You

Read Booth One’s menu as a Gold Coast icon is reimagined

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Booth One is now open in Gold Coast.
Barry Brecheisen
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

While Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’s Rich Melman couldn’t keep The Pump Room’s name, he hopes to bring back some memories when he official reopens the venerable Gold Coast space. LEYE has dubbed the restaurant Booth One, a nod to the VIP table inside the 225-seat dining room inside the Ambassador Chicago at 1301 N. State Parkway. The Pump Room was once a celebrity hang out for Frank Sinatra and others — customers will be reminded by the black and white photographs attached to the wall. But Melman wants to breathe new life into the space, just north of the wild bar scene on Rush and Division.

Eventually, Booth One will be an all-day restaurant serving the hotel. But for now, it carries an upscale supper club feel. LEYE’s chef/partner Doug Psaltis has dishes like roast chicken frites and four beef dishes — including a 20-ounce grass-fed ribeye — on his menu. There’s also daily specials. Saturday’s is an 18-hour prime rib. Wednesday features a dove sole that’s cooked on the bone.

The Pump Room closed in July, allowing Melman a homecoming. Lettuce ran The Pump Room for 22 years. LEYE owned five restaurants in 1976 when they took over the restaurant — they’ve grown a little since. Melman is counting on his daughter, Molly Melman, and partner Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky to act as Booth One’s faces — to usher the restaurant into a new era of prosperity. That way, they can attract current, hipper celebrities and add new photographs to their walls. Comedian Chris Elliot (who is pictured) may be hilarious, but only mom and dad can I.D. him.

The space features a special Sinatra booth, and they’ve brought back the rotary phone for the VIP booth in the main dining hall. Take a look at the photos and menus below. Booth One, the reincarnated Pump Room is now open.

Booth One, 1301 N. State Parkway, inside the Ambassador Chicago hotel, (312) 649-0535, open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday; bar is open 6 a.m. to midnight on Sunday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Guests will have to enter around the corner through the hotel.
The bar area is more open than before.
The bar is a simple retro design.
The lights are supposed to resemble champagne bubbles.
“Booth One” is for VIPs and is tucked into the main dining room’s corner.
The Pump Room’s VIP booth is special because of a phone — smartphones didn’t exist in the olden days.
The phone will connect guests to the bar.
Booth One has room for 225.
The seating to the rear of the dining room features plush, green benches.
Lettuce Entertain You’s Rich Melman decorated the spot with vintage photos of celebrities who have visited the space.
Tables and chairs line the State Street side of the dining room.
This booth is dedicated to famous singer Frank Sinatra.
This hall leads to a private area.
Another shot of the State Street side.
This booth can be curtained off.
The lounge area near the bar.
The bar area.
Lettuce Entertain You wanted The Pump Room’s name, but it was tied up legally.

Booth One

1301 North State Parkway, , IL 60610 (312) 649-0535 Visit Website