Culinary

Everything Tastes Better in Summer

Warm weather eating the Chicago Athletic Association way.


If you’re not from Chicago, well done – you’ve planned your visit at the perfect time to pack less outerwear. If you are a native, congrats, you’ve survived another winter and a glorious summer beckons. What better way to celebrate the changing (or survival) of the seasons than by letting some of the best chefs in Chicago delight you with their vision of warm weather cuisine. Of course, our very own Cherry Circle Room, Cindy’s Rooftop and the chronically fun Game Room all have their menus full of creations perfect for summer dining. Read on – but fair warning, not on an empty stomach.

Summer comes to life the minute you exit the elevator into Cindy’s with its Great Lakes beach house vibe. Expansive views of the sparkling lake compete with fields of native prairie in the Piet Oudolf designed Lurie Garden – neither to be outdone by the bird’s eye view of summer clouds reflecting off Anish Kapoor’s iconic Cloud Gate sculpture. This is the Chicago summer view. Perhaps you’ll take it in at lunch? Chef Ragano’s selection of locally-sourced New American cuisine makes for a menu dizzying with choices. Warm weather calls for the Striped Bass Aguachile (guava, hibiscus, red beets, avocado, citrus, chips) and/or (we recommend ‘and’) the Pastrami Smoked Salmon. Pair these with Cindy’s playful DIY Mimosa selection, and a wonderful day is surely on the way. 

Cherry Circle Room’s Grilled Spiced Carrots with roasted eggplant, chickpea, black olive and dill is as vegan as it is delicious. Order it to start along with a Waldorf Gloom-Lifter (Brandy, Irish Whiskey, Raspberry, Pomegranate, Lemon and Egg White) before you move on to the Heritage Pork Chop with brown butter praline glaze – you are now having the Friday night. Lest you think this award-winning restaurant is putting on airs with the creativity and intricacy of its menu, let us remind you that we’re not afraid to put ‘french fries’ in the ‘accompaniments’ section.

Maybe you just want to relax with a game of bocce ball after a sun-drenched day of play on the lake. Retreat into the cool environs of the Game Room and make it the most Chicagoist of Chicago days by ordering the Chicago Footlong Hot Dog. This all-beef frank is served ‘dragged through the garden.’ This is Chicago for ‘with all of the fixings’ except for notably one. (If you know, you know.) Pair it with a Frozen Radler (Short’s Lager, Frozen Malort, Grapefruit, Pomegranate and Lemon) and even if the hot sun has made you lose every last bit of your cool, you’ll have it back in no time. 

And say you just want out, out, OUT into the glorious day. Simply stop by Fairgrounds to choose from a wide variety of cold brew coffees or sparkling teas on tap. Pair your choice with a Cauli Shawarma or Goldi Lox Platter to-go. Or grab a Shackburger and a cool drink from the our vintage-inspired outpost of the legendary Shake Shack. Then step out for a city-style picnic. Both Fairgrounds and Shake Shack are in our lobby, just yards away from Millennium Park’s gardens, pavilion, fountains and art. After all, summer is beckoning more than just your taste buds. 

Ready to dine? Make your reservation here.