Best Spots for a Chicago Steakhouse Power Lunch
When it comes to power lunching in Chicago, steakhouses are where it’s at. There’s just something about all that burly luxury and hustle and bustle that makes these places quintessential in the downtown dining scene. Whether you’re looking to impress a client, host a midday party, thank an employee or simply dine with relatives, these are the places you shouldn’t miss for a steakhouse power lunch.
Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse: The best part about the lunch menu at this River North icon is that it’s practically identical to the dinner menu, but with more casual offerings (i.e. tons of sandwiches), and lower prices. Start with appetizers like Harry Caray’s beloved Italian wedding soup, an especially soul-soothing option during the chillier months. Toasted ravioli and truffled arancini are other food appetizing options. For sandwiches, options include filet sliders, grilled chicken ciabatta, prime rib ad roasted turkey clubs, or you can go all out with a steak, of course. Like the 8-oz. filet mignon or the 12-oz. grass-fed New York strip if you’re feeling particularly saucy.
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse: The undisputed king of Chicago’s power lunch scene, as evidenced by the constant crowds and heavy-hitters, lunch at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse is a Chicago essential. Swing by the Gold Coast sensation, snag yourself a table with a prime view of the ritzy dining room (and equally ritzy clientele) and tuck into crabmeat avocado, bookbinder’s soup, marinated skirt steak, rib-eye sandwiches and the award-winning hamburger topped with crispy cherry peppers, jalapeño Havarti and spicy mayo. Wash it all down with a dirty martini or an Old Fashioned, because this is the kind of place where day drinking is highly encouraged.
Tavern on Rush: Between Gibsons and Tavern on Rush, the Viagra Triangle area of the Gold Coast may just be the power lunch capital of the city. For one of the best midday scenes in town, perch yourself at Tavern on Rush and indulge in one of the restaurant’s many burgers (the bison burger with Cabernet onions, goat cheese and black cherry jam is a highlight), thin-crust pizzas or salads, then kick back and watch all the bustling action. Be sure and start with some fried lobster skewers or oysters Rockefeller, and don’t be too timid to pair it all with a bracing Manhattan.
Benny’s Chop House: As with its dinner menu, lunch at Benny’s skews contemporary, which makes for one of the more interesting and unique midday dining options downtown. We’re talking bacon nachos heaped with pork belly, blue tortilla chips, avocado and sharp cheddar; fish tacos with avocado and mango salsa; lobster grilled cheese with citrus mayonnaise; and mushroom-truffle flatbreads, to name a few. Of course, you can also keep things more classic with iceberg wedge salads, burgers and bone-in strip steaks, so the decision is up to you.
Erie Cafe: One of the best hidden gems on the power lunch scene is Erie Cafe, the tucked-away institution in River North’s western fringes. Here you’ll find a more subdued atmosphere filled with regulars and timeworn menu staples like Cobb salads, broiled lamb chops, petit filets, shrimp de Jonghe and tiramisu. More Italian-inspired specialties remain fan favorites as well, like pepper steaks, tenderloin Marsala, ravioli and meatball sandwiches.