The Dawson
The Dawson

The Dawson

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.the-dawson.com/
  • Phone: 3122438955x
  • 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
  • Payment Options:
  • 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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The Dawson reviews from OpenTable diners
269 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelEnergetic
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (209)hot spot (125)fit for foodies (125)good for groups (113)vibrant bar scene (107)neighborhood gem (98)great for brunch (76)special occasion (65)romantic (60)notable wine list (29)late-night find (26)great for lunch (23)scenic view (13)kid-friendly (7)Show More
  • Enjoyed very much
    JDG1976
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The food and atmosphere at the Dawson were excellent, only beaten by the excellent service we reecived. An A+ experience all the way around!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic atmosphere & great brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The ambience overall was wonderful. The outdoor patio was adorable - even had a nice fireplace for those visiting at night. The service was perfect (not too frequent or infrequent) and the bacon flight is definitely a must!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AskEv3
    AskEv3
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Fun, Busy, great ambience, cool place, a little loud. The staff is very accommodating!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Quality Delivered
    2whomitconcerns
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    Just stopped in for drinks this time. Fantastic service form start to finish. Bartenders all seem focused on crafting quality cocktails. The fire added life to the patio. Well done.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • the restaurant was impossibly loud
    wolfy
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    the food choices were limited; the brunch eggs were cold; the libations were overpriced; very loud by the bar;
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The Dawson
    Lala
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Excellent! The service, the food, the cocktails all outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good new spot for brunch
    hut52
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    I recently had lunch on the patio and really enjoyed my experience. The patio has a great set up and they had heat lamps to keep it warm (although I believe they could have had a few more). The brunch menu had a good variety of choices including the bacon flight, which was great other than the jowel bacon that no one touched. All in all, if you are looking for a nice place to brunch I would recommend Dawson. Although, be prepared as it is at the higher end of what a place will charge for brunch including $10/11 bloody mary's and mimomas.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Patio Lovers Delight +
    2whomitconcerns
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Terrific patio atmosphere featuring great decor and outdoor wood fireplace! Having visited several times, The Dawson is truly a place I enjoy bringing both dates and groups of friends. Whether you're up for casual drinks or a great dinner experience, the staff is happy to accommodate. Great ambiance inside and out; crowded or not. Well crafted cocktails too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lively spot, good for groups
    Dinner
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    I recently had a Friday night dinner at the Dawson with a few friends. The restaurant is very lively with a diverse crowd (mix of business, young/trendy, and family). If the weather is nice, the outdoor patio is great and can fit larger parties. The indoor scene is more subdued and also has a spacious bar area. The food is very creative and the menu has plenty of options for sharing, especially between the appetizers/small plates and salads. I definitely recommend the hush puppies and the mussels!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great place
    bean
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    All around great place! Fries Lobster is a must! Service was top notch. Martini's were amazing. The burger is to die for! And this place is beautiful and fun!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Time
    Dawson
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    The Dawson was a great place for dinner with friends and have a great outdoor space! The food and drinks were delicious. Owner Billy Lawless stopped by to say hello! He was beyond friendly and made us feel at home.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Cool Atmosphere
    iEatfood
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Great atmosphere and cool spot for drinks. Lively bar at night.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • what a great time we had
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Went to The Dawson for an event and had to go for dinner. They have a fantastic outdoor patio but it was a little too cold to sit outside. the menu was great and the service was excellent. One dish was brought out under cooked and the staff (Nikki, Clint and Zach) could not have been nicer and more accommodating. Will absolutely go back again and again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great space, average food
    Jpinter1
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    I love this place but feel like I overpay every time I eat there. I understand that drinks get expensive. However, for the quality and quantity of food the prices are pretty outrageous.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not what I expected
    eatyourheartout1VIP
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Decor doesn't match the food. Food was mediocre at best. I could have made a better salad at home. Dressing had too much vinegar that overpowered the salad. Pork chop was overpriced for what you get and served with same tasteless salad, and overcooked. Desert was the best part of the meal. Nice place; so-so food, excellent desert. Not worth the money.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, late-night find, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great patio dining
    Diningwithdrew
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    Good place for brunch and a casual atmosphere with an attentive and friendly staff. A bit pricey for the fare.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good Beer List and Good Food
    fattiegonewild
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    The food was very good, with the exception of the sausage. There are definitely some inconsistencies between what is offered and what the restaurant is trying to be. I would say the majority of the menu seems to be focused on fish or surf/turf but I was shocked by the presence of house made sausage. Being curious I wanted to try it, it is certainly not their forte. The wood plank it was served on was a nice catch for the eyes, but functionally it slid everywhere when you were trying to cut the sausage. The desert menu looked amazing, but the sausage didn't sit well with me so we weren't able to try it on this trip.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent. And loud.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    My girlfriend and I got dinner here last Friday night, and we absolutely loved our meal--we started out with chicken-fried lobster as an appetizer, and for entrees we had the honey-brined pork chop the grilled rack of lamb. The food was amazing all around, with Instagram-worthy presentation, complex flavors, and pleasantly-filling portion sizes. One comment I will make is that even during normal dinner hours, the restaurant is quite loud--in order to make yourself heard to others at your table, you'll find yourself talking in that awkward vocal register that lies between "conference call at work" and "trying to use a cell phone in a bar." But it's a small inconvenience for an otherwise excellent dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Going back!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Absolutely loved it! I look forward to going back. Great cocktails, food was delicious, ambiance is fantastic and the patio is awesome!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great patio
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Nice patio and good food. Good drink menu. Patio bar is nice- good low key spot but good scene. I had the cheeseburger and it was delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic Spot
    SpagitoVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    I loved this restaurant. The Chicken Fried Lobster is amazing! My dinner entree of the Freebird Chicken was fantastic as well. The service was friendly and quick and the ambiance is very vibrant and energetic. We have to enjoy outdoor dining while we can in Chicago so if you get the chance to visit The Dawson, DO IT!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Perfect Dinner in a Beautiful Place
    Kleemanimal
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    We had a wonderful meal with excellent service. Unable to choose just a few items, we filled our table with more food than we could eat and loved every morsel. The service could not have been better from our waitress to the manager to the bar tender to the director of operations to the owner, each and every person was friendly, professional and accommodating. We will be back!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Dawesome
    AndrewV
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Great atmosphere, the outside dining was spectacular. Something you really need to experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • FishVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Great bar scene and excellent selection of drinks. Food was good but not outstanding. Waitress could have been more attentive and knowledgable about food and wine.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious food. Service/drinks eh
    happychilivinVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Had been trying to visits the Dawson for awhile and finally went. Food was amazing. Cannot say the same about the service (probably not the general concensus) as the waitress did not explain anything to us. She just asked "what would you like". Also, the cocktails we ordered were not that good. She did not explain to us any of the drinks, food options. Found out that you can order canteens through other diners. Overall, food is great. Service and cocktails were average, at best.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food, service & atmosphere
    SFjules
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We were visiting Chicago from out of town and we only had one night free for a nice meal. My boyfriend and I chose the Dawson and couldn't be happier! The restaurant is huge - 3 separate dining rooms - but feels intimate. Our server was really friendly and attentive, and the food was outstanding. I've been recommending this restaurant to all my Chicago friends!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • decifering the menu
    betsyb4
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    i don't like when reading a menu it makes me feel stupid and the menu at "the dawson" does just that...there are so many words, food descriptions....foods that i have never heard of....
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Awesome!
    Crawfish
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    I recommended The Dawson for brunch to two of my friends last weekend and we couldn't coordinate times so I had to have brunch twice on Sunday. What a hard life...the drinks and food were great! We ordered the crawfish and other brunch items!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great bar scene
    karedekVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Terrific drink menu, well edited supper menu and friendly service. The atmosphere is vibrant.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Cocktails - good food!
    GMarie
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I've been wanting to go here since I saw the mixologist on TV, and the "GTO" cocktail was just what I wanted - gin, grapefruit, lime = very refreshing. The next drink was too boozy and my halibut, which the server recommended was pretty average. My husband got the cheeseburger, which was great, but we can get a $15 cheeseburger anywhere. The oysters were fine, but I wasn't sure what all the hype was about. The restaurant is gorgeous and the mood is romantic, but energetic. I liked being there, but probably won't go back because it's expensive. I thought "Gilt" was much better!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • poor value for money
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    small food portions and very pricey for what you get. I have had dinner here twice and both times I spent $60 for one plate and one glass of wine without leaving satisfied. The portions are small even according to european standards. you don't get bread at the table. The atmosphere is nice but it's loud. Service is alright nothing special. Won't go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Limited, but very tasty, menu
    Waterdancer
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Great food, fascinating drink choices. All American wines, mostly American and Belgian beers. Helpful bartender, sulky waitress. Lovely outdoor area for our small group dinner. Very nice!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Space--Inside and Out
    goodbetterbest
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Dawson experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great drinks + service
    limecup
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Food was fine but drinks and service were most notable.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Beautiful Outdoor Space
    Sarajo
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • beautiful venue, food is less so
    kjm8
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Food, drinks and service was excellent. Noise Level was loud. Was difficult to converse without shouting.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent restaurant;Garden Lovely
    Michluvs2dineVIP
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Restaurant is just lovely and the garden with the fireplace is such a great resource small but delicious menu
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food, great service
    MikanakinosVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic