When you’ve got a client to impress, lunch should definitely not come in a paper boat. Behold, the power lunch. If the thought alone makes you queasy, read on. These 15 Loop restaurants make the right impression. With a reservation on lock, you can focus on the other stuff, like your business plan…or the pasta you’re about to eat.
15 Loop Restaurants for Your Next Power Lunch
Does anyone not like Italian food? Woo potential clients with warm plates of housemade lasagna bolognese and butternut squash risotto. If that doesn’t make them feel comfortable signing on the dotted line, the deep leather banquettes will.
65 E. Adams St.; 312-786-9911 or tesorichicago.com
Give visiting execs a taste of old Chicago with a reservation at this iconic establishment. Since 1898, it’s served steins of German beer and corned beef sandwiches. For a slightly less nap-inducing lunch, try the oven-roasted beet salad with Brie and walnuts.
17 W. Adams St.; 312-427-3170 or theberghoff.com
Mercat A La Planxa
Sharing tapas is great way to keep conversation flowing. After all, you have to talk about what you’re ordering if you’re sharing. By the time the garlic shrimp arrives, you’ll be old pals.
638 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-765-0524 or mercatchicago.com
The $25 prix fixe lunch includes three courses from James Beard-recognized executive chef Paul Kahan. This experience is definitely not on the average lunch break roster (unless it is, and then we want to be you).
619 W. Randolph St.; 312-715-0708 or blackbirdrestaurant.com
Cofounded by Kimbal Musk (brother to Elon), this spot has a unique nonprofit arm that brings learning gardens to schools across the country. So you can chow down on rib eye from local Slagel Family Farm and feel pretty good about it.
316 N. Clark St.; 312-836-1300 or thekitchen.com
The Purple Pig
If you’re in the start-up or ad world, break with the usual white tablecloth places and try something a little more adventurous. Purple Pig specializes in small plates of the porcine persuasion. Expect lots of cured meats as well as some nose-to-tail offerings—pork cheek, anyone?
500 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-464-1744 or thepurplepigchicago.com
Clinching a reservation at this über-hip spot at the top of Chicago Athletic Hotel will impress pretty much anyone. But don’t be surprised if whomever you’re with only gushes about the views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan beyond. Just smile, nod and take another bite of your pan-roasted whitefish.
12 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-792-3502 or cindysrooftop.com
The Gage has been a Michigan Avenue mainstay for nearly ten years. And no wonder: We could come back every day for the grilled hanger steak with a fried farm egg.
24 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-372-4243 or thegagechicago.com
The lobster roll is a little bit messy for a business lunch, so enjoy the tastes of the Atlantic with a fresh sampling of oysters. (And get a lobster roll to go—especially if it’s on the company card.)
180 N. Upper Wacker Dr.; 312-629-1030 or pearltavern.com
Chicago Cut Steakhouse
USDA prime steaks, white tablecloths and views of Wacker Drive’s skyscrapers. This spot has all the makings of a quintessential power lunch. The wine list is lengthy, so if you’re not a oenophile, call ahead for a recommendation.
300 N. LaSalle St.; 312-329-1800 or chicagocutsteakhouse.com
Roanoke opened only in recent months, but it’s already become a destination for client lunches and networking happy hours. That’s because of its prime location in the heart of the financial district as well as its menu of upscale comfort food and ample rooms for private events.
135 W. Madison St.; 312-940-3760 or theroanokerestaurant.com
Chef Tony Mantuano, of Spiaggia fame, runs the kitchen at this aerie of a restaurant. Located at the top of the Art Institute’s Modern Wing, it affords stark views of Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park. We suggest calling in sick post-meal and spending an afternoon gazing at Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Ferris Bueller-style.
159 E. Monroe St.; 312-443-8650 or terzopianochicago.com
On the ground floor of the Alise Chicago, Atwood caters to power lunchers and theatergoers alike. The restaurant recently got a face-lift, so don’t worry if you’ve tried the place before. With a menu of local and sustainable New American, it’s definitely worth a second visit.
1 W. Washington St.; 312-368-1900 or atwoodrestaurant.com
Though it’s the least posh restaurant on our list, Lou Mitchell’s is certainly the most heavy-hitting. Since its opening in 1923, it’s become a known lunch spot for Chicago politicians who make things happen over pancakes and omelettes.
565 W. Jackson Blvd.; 312-939-3111 or loumitchellsrestaurant.com