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Apr 30, 2009 06:30 PM

Fun With Private Business Dining Room

Hey Chicago Hounds, I need a fun place with a private dining room that can accomodate 12-24 people. It needs to be within a 15 minute cab ride of the Hyatt Hotel. Looking for a Chow-worthy destination. Thank you in advance, hounds.

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  1. Which Hyatt hotel? There are several in the central Chicago area, including the Park Hyatt at Michigan and Chicago, the Hyatt Regency Chicago on East Wacker Drive, and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place at the convention center. There are also two near O'Hare, and several more in suburban locations.

    Also, do you have a preference for price range (expensive vs moderate vs "cheap eats", etc), type of food, etc?

    2 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Nsxtasy, Sorry, I did not realize Chicago had so many Hyatts! It's the one by the convention center. We are looking for more moderate than expensive and are open to the type of food. The ability to have a room separate for discussion/presentation is important.

      1. re: Leper

        Just to start with a brief orientation. McCormick Place is about three miles south of the Loop, Chicago's historical and commercial center, from which distances are sometimes measured. The area between the two is called the South Loop, a neighborhood which is rapidly gentrifying with high-rise condos and restaurants, a process that is well developed closer to the Loop (vicinity of Roosevelt Road and north), but just getting started closer to McCormick Place. That distance why you probably will need to take a cab to any restaurant you choose (unless you arrange something in the Hyatt itself). In a cab, you can get to the South Loop in under 5 minutes, the Loop itself in 5-10 minutes, and the River North and "Mag Mile" areas (north and northeast of the Loop, respectively) in 10-15 minutes. There are some restaurants in the South Loop, lots more in the Loop, and a huge concentration in River North and the "Mag Mile" areas.

        Gioco is an Italian restaurant in the South Loop, about a mile north of McCormick Place. Their website ( ) says that they have two rooms for private dining: the 'Speakeasy' which seats from14 to 36 people (sounds perfect!), and the 'Ballroom' seats from 35 to 70 people. That's the only restaurant I'm familiar with in the South Loop with a private room of an appropriate size for your needs.

        There are many, many restaurants in the Loop that have private dining rooms, including Atwood Cafe, a contemporary American restaurant in the Hotel Burnham ( ), Trattoria No. 10, an Italian restaurant ( ), Italian Village, a complex of three Italian restaurants ( ), and the Gage, a gastropub ( ).

        Chinatown is about 3/4 mile west of McCormick Place. Lao Sze Chuan ( ) is a very good, reasonably priced, basic (i.e. not at all fancy) Szechuan restaurant, and they have a private room upstairs. Beware, most of their dishes are very spicy, which is not for everyone's taste.

        You'll need to contact these restaurants to find out their specific arrangements for private events. Some of them have contact info on their website for their designated private event coordinator, who will ask you all the right questions to determine whether they can meet your needs. Beware of dining minimums that some restaurants place on private parties, particularly on space that is larger than you need.

    2. Opera. Same owners as Gioco, and similar location. Opera serves "high end" Chinese food (e.g., beef and broccoli is a NY strip and broccoli). They have a nice private room there, although if I recall correctly, it may be a bit small if your numbers are closer to 24.

      5 Replies
      1. re: JJ.

        According to Opera's website, their banquet room only seats 8-14, which is why I omitted it in my previous post. Otherwise it would have been perfect!

        1. re: JJ.

          Ok, since we're trotting out Jerry Kliner restaurants. Via Ventuno is probably the closest on 21st street. It is in the former Room 21 space. Italian as well, pretty much the same as Gioco.

          Via Ventuno
          2110 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60616

          1. re: ms. chow

            VIa Ventuno just opened last month, and Room 21 was only open there a few months before closing, IIRC. I wouldn't risk planning a significant private event for there until it shows some staying power. (Kleiner's other four restaurants have been around for a while and I have no hesitation recommending them.)

          2. re: JJ.

            For more Asian fusion, i really like the private dining at Red Light. Room is big--I've done two dinners for about 30 there before.

            If price is not really an object and your idea of fun may be trying nice wines, ports, and scotch's with great steaks and seafood you may want to look at the board room at Joe's Steak and Stonecrab. Seats around 20 and can be quite fun.

            1. re: jbontario

              Just FYI to the OP - Red Light (a place I really like, BTW) is on the Randolph Street corridor in the West Loop, west of the Loop and further than the places in the Loop, and would be maybe 15 minutes by cab from McCormick Place, depending on time of day. Joe's is at the near end of River North, just across the river from the Loop, maybe 10-12 minutes by cab.

          3. Leper, you had mentioned 'discussion/presentation'. So is this more than just a dining set up? I.e., AV equipment, etc?

            1 Reply
            1. re: ms. chow

              Thank you Chicago Hounds! You really came through!