CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story mentioned new food options inside Willis Tower. These restaurants are separate additions and won’t be part of the Urbanspace food hall that will also reside in the tower. An amended story follows.
A new food hall announced last week for Willis Tower isn’t the only news for Chicago’s tallest skyscraper. Beyond the food hall, the new food options include burgers from Shake Shack, lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster, salads from Sweetgreen, and hoagies from Taylor Gourmet. The project, which also includes retail and unspecified entertainment options, also has a name now: Catalog.
The new food hall should open in mid-2020, according to a news release. As previously reported, Urbanspace, which operates two food halls in New York, will operate the food portion of the 300,000-square-foot space that’s spread over five levels inside Chicago’s tallest skyscraper. The food hall will take up 14,000 square feet. Separate from the food, Willis Tower will also welcome a new Starbucks, according to the Tribune. Market Creations — the cafeteria-style restaurant that closed during construction — will make a comeback. Gensler is designing the space.
Chains don’t play a big role in Urbanspace’s New York projects, so it makes sense the newly announced restaurants aren’t part of the food hall plans. Chains don’t seem to jive with the desire to — buzz phrase approaching — create a “neighborhood experience” inside the iconic Chicago skyscraper.
Before moving to suburban Hoffman Estates, the company formerly known as Sears, Roebuck & Co. had its name on the skyscraper. Catalog is a throwback to the previous tenant. Sears published its thick holiday catalog, called the Wish Book, sending them out to customers every year. Wish Book’s original publication spanned 71 years from 1934 to 2005. The Internet has rendered shopping catalogs obsolete, but Willis Tower’s management — the Sam Zell-founded EQ Office, the company purchased by Blackstone in 2007 — hopes they can bring back some relevancy to the term.
Willis Tower’s one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. The food hall and other new options will serve the estimated 1.7 million people who visit the tower’s skydeck every year, as well as downtown office workers.