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The Dawson
The Dawson

The Dawson Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.the-dawson.com
  • Phone: (312) 243-8955
  • Hours of Operation: Kitchen; 4:30pm until 11pm Monday - Thursday,
    4:40pm until 12am Friday
    10:30am until 12am Saturday
    10:30am until 11pm Sunday

    Bar; 4:30 until 12am Monday - Thursday,
    4:30 until 2am Friday
    10:30am until 2am Saturday
    10:30am until 12am Sunday
  • Cuisine: American
  • Executive Chef: Rene De Leon
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes

Getting there

  • Public Transit: Grand Blue Line across the street
  • Parking: No
A word from The Dawson
Opened on October 25th 2013, The Dawson is a new partnership between local restaurateurs Billy Lawless (The Gage, Henri) and Branko Palikuca (Topaz, Amber) featuring American cuisine. Celebrating the spirit of late 19th century Chicago, this casual neighborhood hangout features an energetic series of bi-level indoor and outdoor spaces. The Dawson is quintessentially American, from the familiar comfort food and classic cocktails with a twist to the nostalgic, versatile design and atmosphere.

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Diner Reviews
  • "It was our group of three's first visit to Dawson, and we all loved it. Our server was attentive and friendly, everyone's meal was prepared well and as described, and the drinks were great. Especially lovely is the space, both inside and out. I look forward to going back in the evening when the outdoor fireplace is on and in the winter to spend an evening in the upstairs back space. Great addition to the neighborhood for fantastic ambience, solid menu, pleasant service at an appropriate price point. Well done."
    Dined on 8/17/2014
  • "The Dawson gets an A+ across the board from me - from food, to ambiance, to cocktails. I had the ribeye and it was deliciously seasoned and cooked to perfection. The Zodiac Cobbler is an excellent and refreshing cocktail, and the cheesecake sundae was devine. Staff was friendly and customer service was outstanding! Something that seems hard to come by these days in the West Loop restaurant scene."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "Food was fine but drinks and service were most notable."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "A friend and I had dinner at the The Dawson on Friday evening. We had a reservation but cancelled it after we saw the outside patio. We were told it was an hr wait but we were seated after about a 1/2 hr. The food was really good. I had the burger and my friend had fish (can't remember which one) both were great. Fun drinks and atmosphere. The inside is beautiful also. It will be great in the Fall/Winter. Another friend wanted to go on Saturday night so I went back w/ her. Another great experience- she had the pasta and I had the sausage plate. Both were really, really good."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "The space is beautiful. The food is confusing. Had a number of apps-some good, some poor, depending on what your taste is. Entree options are few, but tasted many of them. None were even good; really disappointing flavors. Lamb was overly fatty, chicken was just wrong, and the burger had a gamey taste. Should have stuck with apps and drinks only. May have left hungry, but with a better taste in my mouth."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Food, drinks and service was excellent. Noise Level was loud. Was difficult to converse without shouting."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Restaurant is just lovely and the garden with the fireplace is such a great resource small but delicious menu"
    Dined on 8/12/2014
  • "There was a problem in the kitchen that resulted in our entrees taking a very long time to come out. The staff (server and managers) were very attentive, and let us know they were doing everything they could. They were very eager to make sure that we were happy with everything, even with the small problem. The food was awesome, the drinks were great, and the ambiance is very fun. I would definitely recommend this place for dinner, or even just drinks."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "Really wonderful dining experience- open curtain walls between the building and the garden with a beautifully lit outdoor dining experience. Restaurant was very crowded with large groups, but staff was still pleasant, knowledgeable and attentive. Food was excellent- enjoyed oysters to start, the fresh burrata salad with heirloom tomatoes was wonderful, and then had main dishes of grilled chicken and a pork chop with grilled peaches and cherries. Both were excellent, came well timed with the other courses. Great bottle of white wine with the meal, and a Bayonet Cocktail to start that used local spirits, fresh juices and herbs picked right from their garden. Overall a great night."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "For the prices, you'd expect the food to be next to perfect. Both entrées we ordered were improperly cooked. (How do you ruin chicken and a burger?!) The drinks were great, but the food ruined our experience. The best thing we had were the oysters and the bluefish dip."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "We had about 4 hours between a wedding and reception and the folks from the Dawson could not have been more accommodating. We sat on the patio with terrific service from Annie. Had a great lunch- w/ dessert. Charcuterie board was terrific, turkey baguette was great and the brunch omelet was good as well. The manager even sent over a round of prosecco to keep the celebration going. Had a wonderful time."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "My wife and I took 2 of our kids to the Dawson for brunch. The food was outstanding and the service could not have been better. The place is a little off the beaten path, but find a way to get there and enjoy this great spot!"
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "I've been to this restaurant twice this summer which completely goes against my usual attempt to constantly try new places. It was that good that my husband and I were really excited to go back-- primarily for the fried lobster tails. I've never had lobster this delicious. Also love the entrees and ambiance. Hubby and I noticed it seems like a place to be single and seeking and thus was very, very loud. Only slight complaint. It was worth shouting a bit to enjoy this meal."
    Dined on 8/7/2014
  • "Went here with some new friends from work after a long day. Parking was not too bad at all. Although, we did go there in the middle of the week. Service was swift and pleasant. The food was excellent. I had the roasted halibut. I highly recommend this because the fish is actually moist and very flavorful. I hate when places overcook the fish. The calamari on the side was also cooked to perfection - not chewy and overcooked. I had a few Moscow mules, which were well-made. Apparently, they make their own ginger soda. Overall, it's a great place to stop by before heading home, and probably good for a date night too. I would definitely consider returning to try more dishes."
    Dined on 8/6/2014
  • "Would recommend but with caveats. Portion sizes are small and to my way of thinking, too costly for what you get. DDeats"
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "I was expecting a regular bar but it is not. Food get regular meal but they are well done and you'll have a great quality. I was surprised by this place."
    Dined on 8/3/2014
  • "Enjoyed a great meal on my first trip to the restaurant. Great mussels, fish and stone fruit salad. The outside was jammed so we opted for the inside dining room."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "The Dawson reminds me why we go to restaurants: Tons of money/ effort put into a beautiful space. Buzzing crowd of all kinds of people. Clockwork (well, a bit stuttering) rhythm of a team to accomplish herculean service and accommodate requests like our allergies. Boutique cocktails with abecedarian litany of ingredients. Chef-designed food you wouldn’t make at home: mussels in rich fiery broth; fried sweetbreads with spicy mayonnaise; “chicken”-fried lobster; wood-grilled house-made sausages so succulent you wouldn’t believe. Honorable mentions to blueberry cookie parfait; triple Belgian ale w/a horse-felling alcohol percentage; delicious cabernet blend by the glass. Slightly intermittent service,a slow start; missing drink. Pricey."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "Limited menu.We enjoyed the food..however the noise level in the restaurant was unbearable! Fortunately we were able to move to an outside table which was not as loud.."
    Dined on 7/30/2014
  • "Beautiful outdoor patio and great drinks. Nice touch to have the owner of the restaurant stop by your table to check in on experience."
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "My recent visit to The Dawson was to meet someone for drinks. We decided to be seated on the patio and were not disappointed! It was a beautiful night and the restaurant had hired this great, three-man band lead by Nick Shaheen. The ambiance was incredible! Very tasty cocktail menu as well. Spring, Summer, or Fall, look towards The Dawson for a great date spot."
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "Have such a great time every time I visit the Dawson! Food is spectacular, drinks are always fun and atmosphere is great. I love the decor and the staff is always so pleasant! It's a must!"
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "My date and I had a blast! The food was awesome and the atmosphere was lively. Our only concern was that it was just too loud for the two of us to talk - it was a first date. This place would be awesome for groups though and the patio was incredible for a late night drink."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "I have heard such great things about the Dawson, so I gave three stars on food and service. We arrived for an 8 PM reservation, and were taken upstairs. We could not hear each other talk. So lound! Combination hard surfaces (don't absorb sound), music and very young, pre-clubing crowd. I swear I'm not that old. So loud!"
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "The Dawson had a small but well done menu. I think they excel at their cocktails. Food was delicious. We sat outside in a beautiful summer evening in the outdoor garden. You feel transported out of the city. Well done."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "Despite being overly salty, the food was delicious. Great atmosphere."
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "Took a coworker here for a meal and a chance to relax after 2 long days working sales. Excellent food, exceptional spirits, perfect service, and a nice visit with the purveyor. This is a beautiful space, the food is fun, playful, and exceedingly well prepared. The bar is on its game, they make one heck of a sazerac. Hard to find fault with this place. Very nice of Billy to stop by the table."
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "We had brunch there on Sunday and the food, atmosphere and service were all fantastic. Some unusual offerings, so not your "normal" options for brunch, but everything we had was great! Staff are extremely friendly and attentive, offering good suggestions when asked. Exceptional space with a great outdoor space as well. Highly recommend The Dawson."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "I'm a long time customer at The Gage and love the food, cocktails and beer, and customer service. Billy Lawless and his crew knocked it out of the park again with The Dawson! I went for brunch and sat on the awesome patio. The Hangtown was super tasty and the Calexico and BBQ Bloody Mary were delicious. It's not convenient for me to get there but am definitely going to keep going back! Also BACON LOVERS, they have bacon flights!!"
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "Everything from the moment I walked in the door was great. I definitely recommend it."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "Our server was A+. Knew the menu and was super attentive. Rare to get this level of service and it made our experience memorable. Great outdoor patio too."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Expensive with very small wine pours for the money. Vibrant environment and great outdoor space."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Great food and wine. The menu has been chnaging over the past 9 months, and the changes are always interesting tweaks (nothing major). I look forward to our next visit!"
    Dined on 7/14/2014
  • "I'd been looking forward to The Dawson since I'm a big fan of The Gage and Billy Lawless' style of hospitality. The space is beautiful, it was lovely to have live music on the patio on a Sunday evening, but the food was mixed, our server had a sour attitude, and the price/value just wasn't there ($98 tab for one entree, two appetizers, one cocktail, one non alcoholic beverage, two coffees). I have hopes The Dawson will keep getting better, but it will need more focus on the food and less on the beverage service to win me back."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "So many friends recommended the Dawson for not only the food or the drinks but for the atmosphere. Dined outside for brunch. Perfect weather and the food was great. The honey ham was probably the best ham I've had. Waitress was great but towards the end of the meal she did kind of forget us and we had to flag her down. Although, we were all in convo so she may have given is time to unwind and chat after eating before bringing the check. Will def recommend and plan on coming back for dinner"
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "Totally over hyped food menu. Food just wasn't that good or exciting for the price. Could have had a better meal for a lot less. Service was ok, but not great. Drinks were good, though. Would be surprised if this restaurant survives for more than a year."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Excellent food, trendy atmosphere, great service! Would recommend this if you are out for a night on the town in Chicago."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Everything was just great. Service, menu, food, wine, hospitality of management. But the place is loud."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "The atmosphere is full of energy, the service was outstanding. Our server was very knowledgeable of the menu. The best part was the food and the drinks...wow..you have to try the chicken fried lobster and the muscles..the fennel and saffron..outstanding. Oh...take a cab you do not want to miss out on the drink menu. I would go back in a minute. This is not a place you want to pass up."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "After driving by too many times to count, I was glad we finally got to try The Dawson. We met another couple and brought our 1 month old. They had a high chair with proper safety straps (this is not always the case with other restaurants), but no place mat or anything (not that I expected it, just giving other families with young children the details). I did not check if there was a changing station. I had the French Omlet which was delicious and my husband said his Good Simple was as it name suggested. We both loved the potatoes that came with. The staff was very friendly and the decor is great. I wish it had been a nice day out; I would have loved to have sat outside on their large patio. Next time."
    Dined on 7/12/2014