Behind the Scenes of Lawry's New Gastropub, SideDoor

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 7:36pm
Christmas has come early! Lawry's is opening a gastropub in River North. Utilizing space within their current building, SideDoor will offer a relaxed atmosphere with a very distinct feeling than what you have in the main restaurant. 
Replacing Lawry's Ale and Sandwich Bar, Max Maxwell, general manager for Lawry's The Prime Rib and SideDoor, hopes the new concept "will cultivate the next generation of Lawry's guests."  
Using a $500,000 facelift, SideDoors will meld original features of the turn of the century McCormick Mansion with modern industrial elements to create a chic and intimate lounge.
Set to open on February 18th, with a limited soft opening in January, Executive Chef Victor Newgren is working with local vendors and farms to produce a seasonal menu of sharable dishes. 
Finalized on Monday, a few stand outs on the menu include the house cured salmon gravlax, beer briased mussels (using Daisy Cutter ale), lamb shank pie and prime rib chili cheese fries.   
From the sandwich side of the menu, Newgren created a house smoked pastrami sandwich - a must try option according to him - along with a lobster and shrimp roll and a cheeseburger. This area also includes the only item you'll see from the standard Lawry's menu, the Lawry's prime rib sandwich. 
Another notable item from the culinary side is the roasted meat board. While plenty of restaurants serve artisan cheeses and charcuterie, the hot meat option is Newgren's hat tip to Lawry's famous prime rib. 
Leading the drinks program is restaurant manager and mixologist Andrew Macker. Not afraid to challenge your expectations, Macker created a beer menu that includes 18 different breweries, primarily craft, and a cocktail list that incorporates a number of Chicago-based spirits.
The most unique cocktail on the menu is the Smoked Negroni featuring FEW Barrel-Aged Gin and smoked ice. Yes, smoked ice. Looking to preserve the flavor of FEW's gin, Macker used hickory chips to smoke water before freezing it into ice. The result is a smoky flavor that compliments the barrel-aged gin  and pairs well with beef or fatty dishes. 
With the recently opened Eataly only a few blocks away and Shake Shack on the way, Maxwell is confident that the neighborhood is ready. 
If the new concept is successful, Maxwell plans to expand the casual experience to their upstairs space via a special door only SideDoor customers will know about. Clearly Maxwell, Newgren and Macker are fans of Daniel Burnham, because their plans are big. 
Joe Piehl's picture
Chicago Editor Joe Piehl
Joe Piehl

A TLT contributor since 2010, Joe is the Chicago Editor. Outside TLT, Joe keeps an eye out for awesome activities and he writes a travel blog: Joe the Explorer.

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