Lawry’s Side Door Gastro Pub Opens in Chicago

05/27/14 at 11:39 AM


The Side Door concept started in California, as an English-style Gastro pub. The atmosphere of the typical Lawry’s restaurant is formal and traditional; the cuisine is focused on high end meat dishes. Side Door’s boutique dining concept was developed to appeal to new patrons without affecting their core brand. With a focus on artisanal cheese and charcuterie, seasonal foods, small shareable plates, and signature beverages, Side Door’s sophisticated lighter fare offers an alternative to Lawry’s The Prime Rib formal dining experience.

Side Door was brought to Chicago as a counterpart to Lawry’s The Prime Rib, also located in the historic McCormick Mansion. Working closely with the Frank family, Aria Group Architects, Inc. had the opportunity to design a space that combines the best of the historic elements of the mansion with modern design elements. A few of these elements include custom stained glass windows, wall coverings, and reupholstered chairs that all relate to existing stained glass windows, the use of neutral color schemes that refer back to Lawry’s the Prime Rib, and activating the existing bar entry area with new liquor display steps, seating and lighting. The resulting space complements the Lawry’s brand, respects the history of the McCormick Mansion, and gives Side Door its own unique identity. There is a smooth transition between the formal, classic elegance of Lawry's The Prime Rib, and the relaxed sophistication of the Side Door gastro pub.

Aria Group proposed that this Side Door concept needed a new side entry away from the Lawry’s entry, and worked with the owners to receive approval from the city to utilize part of the public walk for this purpose. Its distinctive copper awning and key signage enhance the Side Door branding by providing a strong identity to the space upon entry. The use of copper as a defining element of Side Door was carried through the interior as well, in the form of the copper hood over the display oven and charcuterie station.

The overall effect of the design is to give the Side Door gastro pub its own identity rooted in the history of the space. It gives the feeling that this chic boutique eatery is a natural evolution of, and perfect complement to, the existing Lawry’s The Prime Rib.