Since 1970, members at Midtown Athletic Club — originally Midtown Tennis Club — have served up aces and volleys will taking tennis lessons near Elston, Damen, and Fullerton. But within a few weeks, Midtown, 2444 N. Elston Ave., will serve up a new restaurant for its members and guests at The Hotel at Midtown, the new 55-room hotel opening in November. Chromium will feature food from executive chef Amanda Barnes, a former chef de cusine at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate.
The work is part of $75 million in renovations for the six-level club. Barnes is intent to show fitness-focused members that health food can be delicious: “I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I try to make it good, and if it happens to be healthy, then great!”
So while, yes, members will come to use the facilities to get their backhand in shape or burn off the calories in a fitness class, no one will be enforcing a kale-only diet.
“A lot of [health] food tastes like punishment,” Barnes said. “I am not a fan of it at all.”
In other words, she wasn’t looking to create “typical club food.” Instead her menu features Wagyu and beef heart meatballs, bone-in Manhattan steaks, tuna crudo, duck-fat tater tot french fries, and even Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dog. The Vienna Factory store is a down the street from Midtown: “Hey, it’s local — it’s super local,” Barnes joked.
There’s also outdoor dining along the pool with room for 60. The main dining room seats 182, along with a 16-seat private room. There’s also a bar and lounge.
Other clubs, most notably East Bank Club, have their own restaurants. Barnes is most excited about the roast chicken, which she’s sourced from a farm in Pennsylvania and is raised to mimic the flavor of a Bresse chicken, the coveted French bird. Her menu will also offer unique items like salmon skin chicharrones. But if a diner really wants to stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to their diet, they can find seasonal salads and roasted broccoli, served with apricot-coriander vinaigrette.
For dessert, Barnes is planning seasonal soft-serve and cheffy takes on the Mexican popsicle, the paleta, such as the miso with white chocolate and sesame seeds — for those who aren’t watching their waistline.
Chromium should open sometime during the first two weeks of September for members, while the hotel should open on Nov. 1 at the newly-refinished intersection of Elston, Damen, and Fullerton.