The Dawson
The Dawson

The Dawson

  • 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
  • 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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
The Dawson reviews from OpenTable diners
214 reviews since July 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.1
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelEnergetic
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (141)hot spot (117)fit for foodies (107)good for groups (104)vibrant bar scene (90)neighborhood gem (81)great for brunch (47)romantic (47)special occasion (46)notable wine list (20)late-night find (19)great for lunch (18)scenic view (8)kid-friendly (5)Show More
  • Not Impressed
    RickBruce
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    The food was OK but pretty bland. Deviled eggs (whites) were hard. Dishes made to look like more by too many potatoes and one egg!!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    Love the outdoor patio and cozy inside decor. The brunch and dinner are both great...very fresh and sustainable choices. I will 100% go back!
    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, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • More of a loud bar than restaurant
    ChiTownDinerVIP
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    Read all the reviews about it being loud - but we went early and thought it'd be ok. We were wrong. The place is really a bar -- that happens to serve high end food. The service started out fine but as the evening wore on and it got busier, it was harder and harder to find our waiter. Overall, we enjoyed our food (chicken-fried lobster appetizer, then the red fish tacos for two, and banana toffee cake)...but won't be going back based on the atmosphere (WAY too loud) and lack of service. It's too expensive to have to shout across the table and flag your server down to get your check!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great dinner with friends
    gtfitz
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Had a great dinner here (group of 4) this past weekend. The food was excellent and we all walked away full and happy. We would definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great food
    Ginger
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    spectacular service, awesome food, and really creative drinks!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great, just a little too loud.
    Foodinhills
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Great food and great service, just a little too loud. Had to shout to have a conversation
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • ok food, too noisy
    btdubs
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Of course it might have just been what we selected, but thought the food was just OK especially considering the price ... the noise level was way too loud though.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Stopped there before a Bulls game - great food and attentive service. I would like to see them add a couple of simpler dinner options (similar to the Reuben burger - which is terrific) for those of us who would like to take advantage of the place before heading off to the United Center.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lovely
    LovelyDawson
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Went to dinner with a friend on a Friday night and sampled four-five items. All were terrific! We started with the McDucketts... and wow! Mind, Blown. We shared about five mcducketts and they are worth every bite. Not to miss if you are looking for something new to try. Next we had the cheese plate, not bad, and then we chowed down on brussel sprouts and mussels. We were getting full at this point, so of course we had the banana toffee cake. Dude. Dude. Between two people it was a very nice portion and this thing is loaded with banana slices, and a savory caramel drizzle and light whipped cream interior. We were very happy campers at the end of the night. Only down-side, it was a bit noisy a times, but the music selection was great!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I'll be back
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002VIP
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Service was impeccable. We told the waitress that we only had an hour and she took great care to make sure we were well taken care of in that time frame. We had a number of appetizers and split the Reuben burger. The southern fried lobster was notable. Great bar menu and the bar was packed with Friday happy hour goers, which made for a vibrant scene. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great brunch and not too heavy
    Pippitt
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    Brunch can get rich quickly at a lot of restaurants but The Dawson's food was delicious and not over the top. I had the Simple Good entree and it was the perfect portion. Would Recommend for groups, couples and even young families.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/2/2014
    Yikes to the French toast- Everything we ate (we got the turkey baguette and the French toast) was sour. They put the same slaw on everything that made the food taste spoiled. Not my finest brunch. The drinks were great though
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • GNC54VIP
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    Wide selection of bourbon. Roasted chicken was excellent! Service was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • FoodieVIP
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    Our waitress was fantastic -- appetizers and burger outstanding. Duck croquettes and cauliflower nuggets were great. Loved the cheese plate. One of the coolest outdoor venues in the city. Fireplace is awesome. I live in river north and this is my very favorite neighborhood spot.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great atmosphere and patio
    HonestDinerVIP
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    The decor is wonderful. It's a great mix of style and comfort. The outdoor patio area is really nice. Definitely one of the best outdoor seating areas in the city. The food was hit or miss, but only slight misses. The cauliflower beignets were excellent. The baked apple salad was over dressed. My friend loved the half chicken. The potato gratin would have been great if the top layer wasn't over salted. The brussel spouts needed to be cooked a little but longer. The banana toffee cake was good, but a bit dry/needed more sauce. The server meant well, but needs a bit more experience. She did not answer food questions well (Crémeux is not whipped cream). She did not read body language well.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unfortunate
    MrHonestVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    Was really hoping this would be good after a disappointment the first time. Unfortunately the pork was so salty it was almost unedible. Not going back. Go to the gage instead. Better food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lovely, but LOUD!!!
    JenniferVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    OMG.... the acoustics!!! It's nothing but an echo chamber for noise. You have to SHOUT across the table....SHOUT at the waitstaff.... That said, the owner personally came to our table and spoke of the upcoming improvements to dampen the noise, and HALLELUJAH! It is a true gem of a restaurant. The food is delicious and creative, the cocktail list is diverse and the wine list is American, yet expansive. If you want to go before they update the acoustics, I'd recommend the patio - or an odd hour when the restaurant won't be as crowded. Or, just bring someone you have no desire to talk to!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Husband and I came here for my birthday and pre-Hawks game for the first time. The foyer and decor is absolutely stunning and really set the tone for the whole evening. Our server, Gregory, was just delightful! We ordered cocktails to start as well as a half dozen oysters and the whitefish spread. The oysters were out of this world. Whitefish was delicious as well. My husband ordered the reuben burger and I ordered the halibut. Hubby's dish was perfection. I loved my included side of squash succotash, but sadly the fish was a bit over-cooked. The top was a bit crispy, which was fine but the inside was also a bit chewy. I'm guessing this was a mistake and not the norm. Dessert was a banana ice cream cake concoction- blew us away!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mixed feelings
    gmblnmnVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    I ate here on a Friday night. I enjoyed the food, which was fresh, well-prepared and tasted great. The menu is limited but that allows the kitchen to focus on doing things very well. The drink menu is extensive and very creative, while the wine list is strictly West Coast and a bit ordinary. There is one caveat: if you go, be prepared to shout at your friends. The noise level is beyond deafening.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Awesome Dawson
    VictoriYes
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Fascinating historic, factory building converted into a dramatic "loft like" restaurant. We had to explore the whole place before leaving. The staff were friendly and attentive, including the valet. The food was interesting and so tasty- the duck pate appetizer served in a glass jar with baguette rounds had a shear, flavorful texture that was a meal in itself. Sharing the Redfish with roasted vegetables was perfection. Try the Ruben burger with brisket! YUM! Everything was cooked superbly and the presentation was extravagant. The outside dining area and upper level for private parties were beautiful extensions of the main restaurant. We can't wait to go back to sample Dawson cocktails and savory appetizers at the "happening bar"!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 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
    RainiersMom
    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
    DinnerVIP
    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
    iEatfoodVIP
    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.
    ThoughtProcessVIP
    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