Eat+Drink: Atwood Restaurant
Walking the busy streets of Chicago, the 24-foot-tall windows at the Atwood restaurant and bar catch your eye inviting you to enter and join the people enjoying a favorite meal or a precisely made cocktail.
The bellman opens the door to The Alise Chicago and guides you to start your Atwood experience. Upon first meeting the Atwood host, it’s clear to see the cheerful, welcoming people are one of the reasons Atwood has thrived in the competitive and difficult Chicago restaurant scene. Kelly Stepto, General Manager of Atwood, exemplifies the upbeat positive family attitude of her team. Every day at “line up,” the team comes together for pre-service information. Kelly uses it as a time to not only update everyone on specials and bar happenings, but also a chance to connect. “It’s the time to make sure people are feeling good, that they’re in a good mood, and ready to take care of our guests” says Kelly. Kelly grows this close camaraderie by carefully choosing Staypineapple team members, through inventive interview questions and empowering individuality.
As a result of the uplifting environment, the team is ready to serve guests everyday with their “Go APE” attitude. APE, Atwood Pineapple Expressions, is the Atwood’s way to internally express the value of making a connection with every guest. From suggesting menu favorites to sharing local Chicago knowledge, the Atwood team makes it a point to treat every guest with the same level of hospitality provided by The Alise Chicago hotel.
Sitting as a guest in the bright and airy dining room, the details of the Reliance Building come alive. The Reliance Building was designed in 1890 by Daniel Burnham and John Root. Root passed away from pneumonia in 1891 and Burnham recruited Boston architect Charles Atwood to complete the project. Today, the building is listed as one of the 100 most historically significant skyscrapers in the world. The restaurant was originally named the Atwood Café, after the building’s architect, and has since become known as simply, Atwood.
After taking in the scenery and sipping on a specialty cocktail from the creative and knowledgeable bartenders, your food begins to arrive. Chef David Fingerman has taken the reins at the seasonal American fare restaurant. His extensive research and development has led to creative new menu items while maintaining the crowd favorites. Take a browse on the @AtwoodChi Instagram page and the crowd favorites are sure to be the colorful beet toast appetizer, cacio de pepe pasta, pan seared halibut and baked Alaska dessert.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, in Chicago than Atwood. Not only did I spend time here as lead cook early in my career, I also met my wife here,” says Chef David. Chef David started his career in Chicago and although he briefly left for Texas, he returned to Chicago to continue his love of cooking. Atwood’s menu changes based on season and availability of local ingredients.