Chicagoans are getting more accustomed in mixing shopping with dining and a new Gold Coast boutique is adding a 40-seat restaurant for its chic customers. Over the last eight years, Space 519 has sold designer apparel, house furnishings, and accessories as part of the 900 North Michigan Shops. Earlier this month they moved to a larger location at 200 E. Chestnut Street to better serve its clients which are fans of brands including actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Goop. The new restaurant, called The Lunchroom, will serve a West Coast-inspired menu with soups, salads, and sandwiches. It should open by May 1.
The restaurant is a way Space 519 can introduce itself to new customers while better serving existing ones, said co-founder Lance Lawson. Lawson and partner Jim Wetzel founded Space 519 in 2010. A typical Space 519 client may fall into the “ladies who lunch” demographic. They’re health conscious, well traveled, and “know what they want,” Lawson said. They’ll attempt to satisfy their hungers with dishes like a Green and White Salad (shaved cauliflower, green apples, hearts of palm, Pecorino, pumpkin seeds and spinach with lime vinaigrette) and a tuna melt (whipped tuna with an olive tapenade). Evanston’s Hewn Bakery will provided the breads while Metric Coffee will supply the caffeine for the coffeeshop element. They’ll serve alcohol so shoppers can sip a glass of wine while making their rounds.
Lawson sees the space as a community living room for friends to meet downtown or laptoppers to set up shop during the day. There’s a European feel. There’s also a 24-seat outdoor cafe. Weekend brunch will include dishes like chilaquiles with red hatch chiles inspired by Lawson’s native New Mexico. There’s also a bourbon French toast made of ciabatta. Lawson talked about how downtown seems overrun with stuffy steakhouses. Not everyone wants to eat a whole cow, and The Lunchroom will give those on business lunches a better option.
Lawson and Wetzel’s travels inspired the restaurant. Lawson hopes The Lunchroom can be like what The Walnut Room was for Marshall Field’s/Macy’s but for a new generation.
“Sometimes you go to a place and you see such neat concepts and you wish they were in your city,” Lawson said.
See if Space 519’s Lunchroom can attract ladies who lunch and other customers later in a few weeks.