Last year, Ravenswood’s beloved Architectural Artifacts remerged in a new home closer to Downtown Chicago. The haven for vintage art, furniture, and collectibles, which closed in 2018, relocated inside a historic schoolhouse befitting the business, a 35,000-square-foot building.
Known as The School House, built in 1948 and housing Immaculate Conception St. Joseph School, the building is near several Near North Side neighborhoods — Old Town, Gold Coast, and River North. Architectural Artifacts founder Stuart Grannen carefully transported his unique pieces to display in its new home. Beyond the new showroom, the space houses a pickleball court, private event spaces, and a restaurant. Grannen partnered with the owner of Avondale Bowl, Luke Blahnik, and brought in Lula Cafe executive chef Andrew Holladay to create a cafe menu. Now, about a year since the space’s debut, the restaurant is ready to officially launch with a new name: Grammar.
The all-day cafe may remind diners a little bit of Lula with an all-day menu with breakfast items like chilaquiles and bagel sandwiches. And dipping back into nostalgia, who doesn’t love eating pizza while in class? The menu features Detroit-style squares from standard pepperoni to the fancy with burrata and charred tomato. An Italian sausage version may just give everyone the fusion dish the midwest craves: a Detroit caramelized pan crust topped by Chicago-style chunks of sausage (not the feeble meat specks from the Motor City).
The space, which includes a large patio, retains a retro design, evoking what gymnasiums from the ‘60 and ‘70s looked like. Pickleball debuted in that era, so this isn’t some crass retrofit. Hopefully, pickleballers will be mellow; they aren’t always.
Restaurants inside furniture stores aren’t anything new for Chicago. Of course, the Walnut Room, inside the former Marshall Field’s on State Street, is the oldest restaurant in Chicago (it opened in 1907). More recently, the store formerly known as Restoration Hardware turned to Au Cheval founder Brendan Sodikoff to design the 3 Arts Club Cafe, the chic daytime oasis that’s busy during any given weekday afternoon.
Take a stroll through the space below.
Grammar, inside Architectural Artifacts, 323 W. Hill Street, open 10 a.m. to 10 pm. Wednesday through Sunday.