Chicago Lakefront Restaurants
Since we only have a few months of great weather in this city it’s always worth the splurge to drink and/or snack or dine alfresco at the beach or along the lakefront. The beaches reopen May 28-Labor Day (Sept 6) so there’s not a lot of time to enjoy our beautiful lakefront.
Due to Covid it’s not clear if or when some of the following restaurants will reopen. One concessionaire I spoke with said that concessions officially open May 31. As you’ve heard in the news restaurants are having a difficult time finding employees. I’ve added all the info I could find as of May 18. Please call and check websites for days and hours of operation before heading out. FYI Some of the phone numbers below are currently disconnected. They will most likely be reconnected when the restaurants open.
Cafe Michelle, DuSable Harbor,401 N. Lake Shore Drive, (630) 540-6704 or (312) 877-5977. You can access this from the Lakefront Trail and the Riverwalk. Walk east on the Riverwalk until it curves right (south) and turns into the Lakefront Trail. It’s located on the west side of the trail at DuSable Harbor. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.
Caffe Oliva at Ohio Street Beach, 550 E. Grand Ave. (312) 612-0734, Located north of Lake Point Tower walk north through Jane Addams Memorial Park (formerly Milton Lee Olive Park) to access. Also accessible via the Lakefront Trail. And if you’re on inner Lake Shore Drive there’s a pedestrian underpass at Ohio. Navy Pier Flyover Open
Whispers on the Beach, Oak Street Beach, 1001 N. Lake Shore Drive, (312) 522-0258 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. You can get to this restaurant if you’re on the Lakefront Trail. If you’re on Michigan Avenue there is an underpass under Lake Shore Drive on the northeast corner of Michigan Avenue and E. Lake Shore Drive across from the Drake Hotel. When you come out on the beach side walk right through the sand. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.
Del Campo Tacos, 12th Street Beach, 1301 S Linn White Dr. (773) 457-5492. This is on Northerly Island on 12th Street Beach. You order and pick up your tacos at a window and sit at a picnic bench. You can access off the Lakefront Trail. Or take the CTA 146 bus to the Planetarium stop (end of the line). Walk to the right of the Planetarium and walk toward the beach. It’s in the beach house on the right. You can pre-order on GrubHub. Might be open since they’re taking GrubHub orders. 2021 Free museum days
Dockside Cafe at Burnham Harbor, 1559 S. Lake Shore Drive/600 E. Waldron Drive, 312-360-0885. I drank here long ago while visiting a friend who was living on their boat in Burnham Harbor. It’s a PITA to get to unless you’re driving. You can get there via the Lakefront Trail and at Waldron Drive turn left. Otherwise take the CTA 146 bus to the Solidarity Dr and Field Museum stop and walk 4 blocks south along Museum Campus Drive. Turn left at Waldron. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.
Navy Pier reopened April 30
Lirica, Sable Hotel at Navy Pier, 900 E. Grand, (872) 710-5750. This is at the end of the Pier a half mile walk from the main entrance. I haven’t been there yet but the patio looks fabulous. You can make reservations through OpenTable. Open
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar and Grill, 700 E. Grand Ave, (312) 496-3840. They have tables outside on the south side of the pier. Open
Harry Caray’s Tavern 700 E. Grand Ave, (312) 527 9700. You can make reservations through OpenTable. They have tables outside on the south side of the pier. Open
Billy Goat Tavern, 700 E. Grand Ave, (312) 670 8789. They have tables outside on the south side of the pier. Open
Castaways, North Avenue Beach, 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, North Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, (773)281-1200. This is located in the boat shaped beach house. You can access via the Lakefront Trail or I hop on the North Avenue bus #72 which stops at the beach. Castaways is part of Phil Stefani Restaurant Group. In the past I’ve purchased discounted Phil Stefani gift cards from Costco. I’ve also picked them up during the holidays. Opening May 28.
Shore Club North Avenue Beach, 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, North Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, (312) 635-8058. When you get to North Avenue Beach head left (north) down the Lakefront Trail. It’s on the left. Opening May 22
Lakefront Restaurant, Theatre on the Lake, 2401 N Lake Shore Dr, (312) 414-1313. I haven’t been to this restaurant because it’s a PITA to get there. The Fullerton bus ends at Halsted (?!) and I’m not too keen about walking under viaducts which you have to do to get under the Drive at Fullerton. If you take the 151 bus and get off at Stockton and Fullerton you walk about 4 blocks east to the beach. You can access via the Lakefront Trail. You can make reservations through OpenTable. Open.
Clock Tower, 3701 N. Recreation Drive, 312-742-7930 X3. I’ve never been here. Located at the south end of the Sidney Marovitz golf course. You can access it via the Lakefront Trail. Or take the CTA 146 bus or Sheridan Road bus #151 to Addison and Lake Shore Drive. Then walk a block north to Waveland where there’s a pedestrian underpass. I’m not fond of these underpasses because you never know what’s lurking on the other side. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.
The Dock at Montrose Beach, 200 W. Montrose Harbor Dr., (773)704–8435. The Sheridan Road bus #151 or the Montrose bus #78 both stop at Marine Drive and Montrose and from there you walk about 5 blocks including under the Drive. Open
Pier 31, 31st Street Beach, 3155 S. Lake Shore Drive, no phone. A friend who used to live in Hyde Park said “It has a good vibe and has live music some nights”. Of course that was pre-covid. You can access via Lakefront Trail or via driving. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.
Lake Shore Cafe, 4900 S Lake Shore Drive, 773-288-5815. I’ve never been here. You can access via the Lakefront Trail. You can also take the Metra Electric to 51st/53rd/Hyde Park or the CTA #6 bus and walk 4 blocks. Walk north to Hyde Park Blvd then left onto an inner section of Lake Shore Drive. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.
Reggie’s on the Beach 6259 S Lake Shore Dr, (312) 949-0120. I’ve never been here. This is located in Jackson Park. It’s a 1.2 mile walk from the Museum of Science and Industry. I think the best way to get there is to drive. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.
The Parrot Cage, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S South Shore Dr, (773) 602-5333. I’ve never been here. I think the best way to get there is to drive. Status unknown may open May 28 or 31.