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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 Sunday - Thursday,
    4:30pm until 12am Friday and Saturday

    Bar; 4:30 until midnight Sunday - Thursday,
    4:30 until 2am Friday and Saturday
  • 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 cuisine by Executive Chef Anthony DiRienzo (El Rey and Butcher and Singer). 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
  • "This was a great find for brunch. The day was beautiful and there is a large outdoor patio surrounded by a high wooden gate. You feel like you are somewhere fabulous on vacation. Hostess was lovely- maybe the best hostess we have had anywhere recently. Our server was great- came over, welcomed us and introduced himself. He was excellent the entire time. Cinnamon roll was amazing, I would go back just for that. Thank you for such a perfect time!"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "The Dawson has a great patio for hanging out. Drinks and service are great, but I'd stop there. I went with a group of four, and none of us were impressed by the meals. They lacked flavor and creativity. The food is not worth the price."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "Had the sausage dinner with au gratin potatoes and found it to be okay. The potatoes were a bit flavorless and the sausage seemed like it needed something else to complement it. The outdoor area trumps everything, so I'll probably make it back for drinks and try something else on the menu."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "We've been to the Dawson a few times and the food is always creative and flavorful. From the hamburger to the chicken fried lobster to the honey-brined pork t-bone, it's all good and different here. The outdoor patio is closed in enough that you don't notice the traffic directly outside and the service has been excellent so far. Anda, our regular server, always has good suggestions and keeps the glasses (alcohol and otherwise) filled. It can be a bit crowded on date night, but the rest of the week the spacious place offers plenty of elbow room."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "The food was awesome and the service impeccable. We ate upstairs thinking the noise level would be less so. However, after just a few minutes it filled up and was quite noisy. It wouldn't keep us from coming back, but now we know what to expect."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Went for drinks with two others. Manhattans were delicious; pretty are they make their own maraschino cherries. It's craft and upscale but doesn't feel overly pretentious. Good ambiance and beautiful spot."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Found The Dawson in Tribune review. It was fabulous! They have unique cocktails - something for everyone. Fabulous food! We had the lobster appetizer, the deviled eggs (killer!) and my entree was the sausage combination. All great! For dessert we had the chocolate mousse (REALLY good) and the three flavors of ice cream (homemade). Our server, Chris, was attentive and helpful. He was knowledgeable about the menut and he answered all our questions with a smile. The table attendant was great too -- you don't normally notice how great a "bus boy" is (he's better than that label) and this guy was there to pick up every crumb and he swiftly & politely removed all glasses/plates as soon as we were done with them. Great service!"
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "This is a beautiful spot but needs to improve food. Prices are outrageous for overly salty uninventive entrees. I would love this to be my go to place with friends. Loud dining room also added to frustration."
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "We broke down the doors its first night, scoring seats at the counter bar. We ate like VIPs, mgmt fetching us drinks and bringing us dishes to try. The food was great, the pork shank incredible. Reason to go back -- but food and service slipped each time. Now it's just awful. The new menu is sad -- like they were daring us to order food. Votives proffered as $12 beer glasses are absurd. Our Diane-Chambers-on-acid-having-a-stroke server was full of grammar and lacking in attentiveness. Sorry your major in left-handed Bulgarian impressionists isn't working out, but can you get my drink? Lastly, THE NOISE -- is someone banging a gong? The Dawson: once upon a time a handle-bar-mustachioed hipster and a pompous fund manager had a colicky baby."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "totally new menu, not nearly as good as the opening one.. check it out before you go"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Small portions, mediocre food and not worth the price point. I won't be returning."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "I'd gone for brunch & loved both the food and outdoor area. Expectations were high that a supper experience would be just as positive, but it was a bad night at the Dawson. Service was excellent (though drinks slow to come) and most of the food was prepared well, but it took an hour to receive the main course after we'd finish the starters (oysters were fresh, chicken-fried lobster was yummy). The manager stepped in to sort out the kitchen and the food finally came. The ribeye was delicious, but the halibut dry and disappointing, particularly after waiting so long for it to arrive! The manager was good enough to comp the dish (and I'd only commented, not complained!) Brunch is well worth a visit but I'll have to give supper a 2nd chance."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Food was good, but overpriced. Too big - felt cold and too "hip" in a trying too hard kind of way. No reason to go out of your way for this place."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Visited the Dawson Friday night and was impressed with the scene. Out door patio area and bar were pretty vibrant! Food on the other hand was ok nothing to brag about. Would recommend it for a few drinks but not dinner."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Chef Tony brought a whole new meaning to "haute" cuisine . Masterfully prepared dishes with exceptional product and an eclectic array of sensations. From the succulent chicken fried lobster to the unctuous salmon , all designed with a sense of respect and an honest interpretation of the classic. Incredibly tantalizing to the pallet. A must if you are in the Big Windy."
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "Really cool restaurant with good food. Get the shisito peppers, Deviled eggs mediocre, Entrees good. The patio is gorgeous."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "Had a reservation.They asked us if we wanted to sit inside or outside.I asked if they had heat lamps and the hostess said no so sat inside.They seated us in a far section,upstairs all by ourselves in a corner.Being a little chilly outside was more tolerable than sitting at the "step child" table, so we went back downstairs and they told us they couldn't seat us outside for 45 min.Why did the initially ask if we wanted to sit outside?We went to the bar to wait.10 min later we were seated, but the hostess would not let me put my purse down at the table without closing my tab. She made me close it right then. Like she was afraid I was going to run or something.Also, we were seated right by a heat lamp, had the hostess never been outside?"
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "We had a large group that showed up at different times and the Dawson was very helpful in finding a way to make everyone comfortable. Thank you very much!"
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "The Dawson is doing a great job! The food is delicious and well presented. Great options for sharing as well as individual main courses. Great soft-shell crab! Crispy-fried lobster tail were wonderful with a great spicy side sauce. Service was great and were quite family friendly. The outdoor garden area is beautiful! We will definitely will be back!!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "I did not think it lived up to the hype. The burger did not compare to other stand-outs in the neighborhood (I.e. Au Cheval). The bet things we had were dishes that need very little help to shine: lobster tail and soft shell crab. The patio space is the best part about this place. Also, half of the tables at the restaurant were empty yet they seated three of us at a tiny round table all the way in the back, upstairs. I don't need to go back."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "First time visit with out of town guest who love a scene with great food and drinks. The Dawson is that place. The outdoor patio is great. The drinks were delicious and the staff is extremely welcoming. The food was innovative and of high quality. We especially loved the mussels and the deviled eggs. We will be returning"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Kitchen has very poor timing...unable to get meals out properly. Service is minimal."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "I am old and stuffy. I expected not to like The Dawson. It's for younger, hipper folks, who like music and noise in restaurants and who play with their iPhones during dinner. My wife and I were the youngest customers in the place by forty years. But we were treated like royalty. The service was just excellent -- just the right degree of attention. There was a good menu selection and some specials. The food was excellent. We both had fish. It was moist, cooked just right. I had a radish salad that was fresh, attractive, and just the right size. It even had watermelon radishes in it. We'll be back."
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "This is a unique outdoor dining experience. The entire restaurant as a whole was unique with a really laid-back vibe. However, it was a bit on the cooler side that night (temp-wise) & they chose to keep all 3 outdoor heaters up on the top deck for a private party. Everyone who was sitting outside got up, left or went inside. I wasn't too thrilled that they didn't cater to the normal dining crowd on this. It was unnecessary to have all heaters on the tiny deck in the upper area and not ONE in the huge lower patio area. Overall though, the food is delicious! Smaller portions & a bit pricy but worth it for the experience. (side note: 1/2 the beers on the menu were not available because they ran out from the weekend before)"
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "interesting dishes and nice atmosphere, but finally a stressing experience because the noise level was so high that we decided to leave right after the main course and felt very relieved being on the street again! Had a similar experience in other restaurants in Chicago, so maybe this is USA standard, but not understandable from an european perspective. Would not return."
    Dined on 6/8/2014
  • "Very attractive outdoors for a drink. Menu could use some work. There are interesting beers on draught but the person who pulls the beer ought to be filling the glasses to the top!"
    Dined on 6/8/2014
  • "Chef DiRienzo's new menu is phenomenal. There are great vegetarian options on the menu, which was a plus for me, but the omnivore's will lose their minds over the delightful menu. Everything we had was nothing less than fantastic. I also greatly appreciated the fancy non-alcoholic drink options. Already looking forward to returning."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "The food was solid but the atmosphere and drinks were great. "
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Great atmosphere especially in this location. Great outdoor space and indoor bar. Good was very good. I will definitely be back. "
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "Great ambiance, food and beverage list. No too expensive. Didn't have to wait long a warm summer night."
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "We loved every bite. The fried lobster tails were an amazing appetizer. Entrees were equally delicious. Patio was full when we got there but still got to sit outdoors on the terrace. Very cool decor. Tasty food. Seemed like a hip place to be. "
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "The food was good, but there were limited options (e.g., one pasta dish or two salad options). I was surprised at how empty the bar was upstairs on a Friday night. I think if more people knew about The Dawson they would really like it. The Dawson has a great environment, great service, great drinks, and definitely a fun place to visit. My dinner was very good."
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "Service was outstanding. The menu I thought was a bit limited. Can't say there was a wow factor about it. I would I again if someone wanted to go. But I won't run to get there myself"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "I have been wanting to go here for quite some time, and it did not disappoint! Halibut was one of the best dishes I have had in a while. Chickpea fritters and the burrata angolotti were also equally tasty. Definitely would suggest for a date, particularly if you can get outside on the adorable patio. "
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "Food is great, but second visit with terrible service means we're not likely to return. Too bad because the venue has really good potential "
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "This was a business dinner and I was very happy. We started with cocktails - Luchini and G.T.O and both were very good. We shared three starters: Cypress Grove Midnight Moon - EXCELLENT!; Chicken-Fried Lobster: unique and the perfect portion for sharing; Roasted Strawberry Salad - again we were impressed. We also shared the Milk Chocolate Mousse for dessert and it was wonderful. Our waiter was busy and was not available at all times, but other wait staff were always there and we did not feel unattended."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "I recently visited The Dawson over Memorial Day weekend. I made 8pm reservations for 2 and requested outdoor seating. Upon arrival the hostess greeted me and explained that people weren't leaving their tables so the wait would be 1.5 hours + so we decided to eat indoors. We were seated by the kitchen which is usually exciting to watch the chefs etc but it was incredibly warm and my friend and I were both sweating. They were clearly under staffed for the night and our 1 app, 1 salad, 1 charcuterie, 1 entree meal took us 3 hours to get through. Our waiter was hustling but in the weeds to say the least. The food was good, but not great and hoping they get it together soon. I would try it again as the space and cocktails were amazing!"
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "The Dawson has a great vibe and a place you want to be. Their outdoor space is fantastic and the drinks are tasty. Unfortunately, the food was a letdown, especially in a highly competitive market like Chicago. There are so many better options that to have an uninspired Hangtown Fry that plopped 4 fried Blue Point Oysters on top or a very strange French Toast. The cinnamon roll was bland and a bit crunchy. Hostess was standoffish with the table next to us and they kept 2 large 8 tops empty while others waited for an hour. Server and bus boys were on top of their game however. There are so many better places to eat than here, but it's a good spot for drinks after dinner. "
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "Go there for the burger, skip the sausage platter."
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "From the amazing decor and the ambiance of the outdoor fireplace to the outstanding service, the fantastic cocktails, and the delicious food - The Dawson has every detail covered."
    Dined on 5/24/2014