The three-month, $630,000 renovation of the third-floor breakfast and dinner spot now features a massive temperature-controlled wine wall, wool carpet imported from Egypt, hand-scraped wood flooring and travertine tile to create a space that’s “smart but not stuffy.”
A year after a $2.9 million renovation to its fourth-floor dining room, the Union League Club of Chicago recently unveiled a redo of its third-floor breakfast and dinner spot, the Wigwam, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.
During the $630,000, three-month project, the room was closed and renovated to make way for modern features that appeal to the private club’s growing number of urban dwellers who use the club more frequently than in the past, said club spokesman Richard Barry.
It marks the first major renovation since the 1990s to the Wigwam, which first opened in 1933. The renovation divided the original room into two distinct sections: a traditional dining room that serves classics like Dover sole, Skuna Bay salmon and dry-aged steaks, and a bar/lounge area with small plates and wines by the glass. The club added six separate lighting systems to the windowless room to mimic natural lighting and preserved the space’s original oak wainscoting and stained glass windows, Crain’s reported.
Chambers, the Baltimore, Md.-based architecture and interior design firm, created the designs for the two projects.
The 90-seat room is anchored by a massive temperature-controlled wine wall and features wool carpet imported from Egypt, hand-scraped wood flooring and travertine tile. The design approach was to create a space that’s “smart but not stuffy,” said Robert A. Hickman, Chairman of the Board of Chambers.
While under renovation, the club’s longtime executive chef Michael Garbin overhauled the menu to appeal to younger families and guests, adding a slate of gluten-free options and modern dishes like a kale and quinoa salad, a watermelon and king crab guacamole and roasted bone marrow with parsley salad. He has also added a children’s menu, Crain’s reported.
“Over the last decade or so, this has become more like a city country club,” Barry said. “In the old days, members used it strictly as a business-relationship type of place and there wasn’t much action on the weekends. It’s just the opposite now. There are programs for families and children, and weekends are brimming with activities.”
The 5,000-member private club, which was founded in 1879, occupied temporary quarters in the South Loop for several years. In the 1880s, its first clubhouse was built at Jackson Boulevard and Federal Street. That building was razed, and the 1926 beaux-arts-style clubhouse building was erected on the site where it stands today, Crain’s reported.
The Wigwam, christened seven years later, was named for the former convention hall on Wacker Drive where Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president in 1860, Crain’s reported.