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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 Patrick Russ (Next, Zealous). 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
  • "Great food, great drinks, cool place! The owners came around to greet everyone--very friendly. We will be back!"
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Thought I would have to make reservation for Sunday but when we got there it was about half full so it was very chill and got to enjoy conversation with my friends.service and food was on point. The sever was very knowledgeable about the menu items."
    Dined on 4/13/2014
  • "Made reservations for a thursday nite and was seated upstairs with my date. The waiter was an absolute sweetheart and everyone who stopped by our table was so friendly. The food was stellar and I can't even pick a favorite because it was all so fresh and good. The chocolate tart was amazing. Need to go back to try more of the drinks."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "I understand it was the first nice day outside and that's why the patio was slammed. Our service was terrible, it was so loud I couldn't hear my fiancé sitting 6 inches from me and there was no distinction in space for tables and people standing up to talk, as a result I had a group of girls butts in my face everytime I turned my head in the slightest, not very appetizing. The food was a let down, everything was dry and over cooked. I wouldn't return here after this experience, it's a shame because I really wanted to like it"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "Wasn't blown away by anything we had. We ordered the deviled eggs, mussels and gnocchi. Service was good but the server we had wasn't very knowledgable or personable."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "The menu is pretty eclectic with interesting items. But not all are executed, great."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Fine drinks, excellent food, spot on service, and a surprisingly large space. I can't wait until the summer to come and dine on the patio."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "everything is dark inside. doesn't really qualify as decor but cool nonetheless. as crowd grows, so does the din of noise. nearly impossible to talk at normal levels."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "My husband and I took My daughter and a friend to The Dawson for her Bday. We let her pick the place because she lives in the city now and hears about all the hip restaurants. The bartender was really nice and sent over some tasty shots since he recognized someone at our table. Very nice gesture!! Our waitress was knowledgeable about the menu and made good recommendations. Our cocktails, appetizers and dessert were very good the the dinner portion was just ok. My daughter and her friend split the steak and the nocci. They said the steak was reallly chewy and the nocci was just ok. I had the only fish on the menu and did not have pork or red meat near it. My husband's sausage dish was just ok."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "Food started off awesome and kind of went downhill. We got some sort of bruschetta type of thing with shredded brussels sprouts, bacon and a spread on the bottom to start which was awesome. Mussels were next and they were pretty alright, in an okay broth. The last thing we had was scallops and a couple of mine weren't even seared. The staff is very nice. In addition to our waitress we had a couple others stop by to check in on things which we thought was considerate. The drinks are really delicious. Also, the interior and details like the cutlery, flatware and vintage drink glasses were all superb and spot on. If the food was more consistent, this place would be better."
    Dined on 3/11/2014
  • "Being fans of Gage & Henri, we had high expectations for dinner for 4 at The Dawson. Building has a wonderful, simple, historic ambience. Cocktail list was interesting, our server guided us through it. All had a different cocktail, equally yummy. Loved the Manhattan. Charcuterie and onion rings to start. The liver pate & onion rings were amazing. We ordered the ravioli, pork shank, and scallops for main course. We shared and devoured it all. Chocolate tart for dessert. Wanted to lick plate. Hospitality rules here..all were gracious. Prices- very reasonable. Owner and the manager stopped at our table to be sure we were satisfied. Looking forward to enjoying the amazing food and beverages in the outside space as soon as it stops snowing!!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Fabulous food, mixed drinks that knock your socks off, and service that rivals white linen locations. A must try, and now a must repeat."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "An excellent upgrade to this hot upcoming corner. I believe The Dawson will contribute mightily to the constant change coming to our neighborhood. Everything was great but hipster slow service. Will be back many times. Onion Rings were out of this world and the spiced Brooklyn Beer fantastic. We here brunch his coming. Billy the owner was very hospitable."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "We went to the Dawson for Chef's Week; half the table ordered a la carte, half ordered the chef's tasting menu, which comprised of food not on the usual menu. We all agreed the food was ok to good, but it's definitely not up to par with the great eats in Chicago.The spot is great, comfortable, plays good music, has good booze, has a nice big bar, and looks like it will be awesome to hang on the patio once it gets warmer. We agreed we don't have a need to come back here when we're wanting a nice (i.e., mind blowingly tasty) dinner, but we will def come back to hang out and have nibbles. Oh, also, the oysters are great. Not raw but delish in a new way I'd never had them. The shortrib sandwich was by far the best thing anyone ordered."
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "I had a good time at The Dawson. I had an overpriced short rib sandwich that was decent (I have had better). The service was great and my food was good, but overpriced for what you get. I would come back for cocktails as the Safe Word was delicious."
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "Really enjoyed my cocktail, Safe Word. It was blending very well and didn't have any of that cheap alcohol taste. Our pork tacos were delightful, the burrata tartine was so-so but my flanksteak was delicious. I would definitely check it out. It got progressively louder as the evening passed which became aggravating. The patio are looked great."
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "This place is the only thing of it's kind in the area so that's why I called it neighborhood gem. but other than that, the food didn't really stand out."
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "This was our first experience at The Dawson and I can say we were pleasantly surprised. The ambiance of the room was very nice as it was part of the bar, but yet far enough away you didn’t get the loud noise and the tables had a very intimate feel. The food was definitely the high light! The only thing we didn’t like was the desert (Chocolate Tart…meh?), but everything else was delicious. Our favorites: carpaccio (my mouth waters thinking of this), mussels with chorizo, and fire-roasted prawns (bloody mary mix was perfect combo). My disappoints were the recommendations provided by both our waitress and the sommelier...really Onion Rings are your menu favorite? Luckily we decided to ignore all recommendations and had a great meal!"
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "Went on the Sat night of St. Patrick's Day weekend. Bar downstairs was crowded and very loud. Our server tried her best but had too many tables and the service was terribly slow and the food came out slow. A manager finally chipped in to help (good job on his part). The server was totally knowledgeable and friendly, she just had too many tables. The food was very good. The prawns were outstanding. The butter lettuce was boring. Good vibe. Billy Lawless even roamed around and said hi to all the tables, like a good restaurant owner should do. Overall, nice place, way too loud, good food. Outdoor patio looks like it will be awesome."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "We went to the Dawson as a small group and shared each dish was a great way to experience the food. Each item was fantastic could taste the layers of flavor in every bite. My favorite was the mussels that broth so harmonious should be served with a spoon. We all really enjoyed everything at the Dawson."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "I'd been to the Dawson for drinks & loved the refined & cozy atmosphere downstairs. On the Sat before St. Pat's Day we made a res for dinner thinking we'd avoid the young crowd/pub scene by heading back to the Dawson. Guess again. We were led upstairs where it's worse than a pub -- filled with partiers spilling drinks all over and loud music. To add insult to injury, we were seated right next to the restrooms so our chairs were bumped every few minutes by those heading that way. We saw a few other parties seated in this area get up to leave. The management at the Dawson should have informed us of this upstairs party or given us the option of waiting for a table downstairs (I asked and was told it wasn't possible). I will not return."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "they do everything right here - exceptional cocktails AND food. I will be back!"
    Dined on 3/12/2014
  • "We arrived at Dawson early for an 8pm reservation, and were not seated until nearly 9:30pm. Upon our arrival, we were assured we'd be seated shortly, but after 45 minutes, I went back to the host stand to inquire about an update. In my humble opinion, service errors are all about recovery. We were treated to 2 complimentary rounds of drinks at the bar which was great - despite our smug bartender. That being said, when we were finally seated, the owner of The Dawson, the manager, and our server did an exquisite job of making sure we'd come back, by taking very good care of us. I'd expect nothing less from the folks running The Gage and Henri, and we will most definitely be back. Oh, and the food was DELICIOUS!"
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Fun drink menu. Our group each had a different one and they were all thumbs up, especially the saki drink. Burrata bread, pork tacos and short rib sandwich were thumbs up."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "Great cocktails in fun eclectic glasses. The charcuterie and cheese were both tasty (although wish it came with more bread). I got the burger and it was one of the better ones I've ever had with great gourmet toppings. Others got the duck sausage and roast chicken and all were tasty. It's a bit expensive, but we got great food and service so it was with it to us. Tha patio looked nice but it was too cold outside for us to try it."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "The Dawson is an awesome restaurant. It's a very cool old fashioned, historic building with a bar in the middle of the restaurant. The restaurant is noisy, but as long as you don't mind this (I didn't), it is a really neat place. Easy to get to, right off the Blue Line Grand Stop and near the Kennedy. The food was outstanding, I would definitely recommend the Mussels for an appetizer; the portion was huge, enough for 2-3 people. The Chicken was very moist and juicy, even the white meat. The beer/wine list was nice, they seemed to have a good variety. I didn't have a mixed drink, but they seemed to be very creative and not too expensive. I would definitely recommend the Dawson to anyone looking for a fun dinning experience."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "We were very disappointed in much of what this restaurant had to offer. The service was extremely slow (over an hour waiting for entree after our appetizers.). The manager stopped by our table to offer us a drink but considering we all had to head home to our children we declined and no other compensation was offered. We then went to our car to find our valet fee doubled due to being parked for over 3 hours, obviously that was not our choice. I did go into the restaurant and they covered half the fee. I was disappointment because I was very excited to have a fun night out."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "The Dawson is truly a place to have a great meal with a great friend with great service!"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Great experience first time here! The veal Ragu was amazing!"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "The food is terrififc, the service is careful and friendly. Great experience! Clint, the manager, is impeccably knowledgeable about food, drinks, wine. Mr Lawless has another success."
    Dined on 2/27/2014
  • "3rd or 4th time eating here. They keep getting better. Menu changes often. We had the Wagyu carpaccio, wedge salad, beef short rib sandwich, smoked chicken, and meyer lemon dessert. Everything was delicious. Cool vibe, great service...etc."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Four of us ate here on Fri., 2/21/14, and we all loved it! I don't eat meat, and had the chestnut raviolis -- which were to die for. Everyone really enjoyed the various dishes we ordered. We'll be back. The only downside was the noise level. It was super loud on the first floor, but we were fortunate to dine on the 2nd floor. Fortunate, that is, until it got packed, and the noise was as bad as downstairs"
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "The Dawson had a nice drink list, knowledgable bartenders and great servers. However, their food was nothing special. It was nicely presented but it was missing the seasoning level to make it stand out."
    Dined on 2/18/2014
  • "This is a cool new place. Decent drink menu and interesting food. I had the deviled eggs and ravioli, both were excellent. The dish that really stood out for me was the mussels. The broth on those mussels is just scrumptious."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "We had a great meal and loved the scene. We'll be back,"
    Dined on 12/14/2013
  • "We started with drinks at the bar on the second level. I ordered a tequila and mezcal style drink and it was absolutely delish! There was a perfect amount of smoke flavor as well as citrus. Then we moved downstairs for dinner and our server was very friendly and happy. The absolute best dish of the night: pork belly tacos. Seriously, these are incredible. Order at least one per person. For my main dish I chose the scallops (recommended by both the bartender upstairs and our waiter) but I was unfortunately dissapointed. There seemed to be two different plates combined into one and half of the flavors did not compliment the other half. Regardless, it was a great night and I absolutely will be returning."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "We came to Dawson to celebrate Valentine's day. It had valet parking and the entrance to the restaurant is a two story area. We were seated upstairs and our first impression was mixed. First was the sound level and the music which was overpowering to us. We were seated at a small table for two and our server put us at ease. The menu is gastro-pub and slightly above with a good cocktail/wine and draft beer list. I spotted a room with a fireplace and asked if we could be moved there. We entered this gem of a room which was quieter and had four love seat modules. It was here we really felt more at ease and the waiter and service was good (but wanted to take your plates as soon as possible, which is irksome). The cuisine was above average."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We came for Valentines day. Good drinks and a fun, hip vibe. Decor is cool. The wait staff seemed "new" as they were not able to answer specific questions about the drinks and food. I am sure this will change in the new few months. The outside area looks great and I am sure this will be a summer hot spot. Ideal for drinks and appetizers, cheers! PS. our favorite app. was: the burrata tartine- (fried brussels sprout, bacon lardon, apple saba)"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Kale salad was very good, as was Ravioli when brought a second time because first was not even warm dish. Prosecco was very nice."
    Dined on 2/9/2014
  • "The cocktails were a delight and just the right mix of weird and refreshing. The service was terrible, slow and very little fan fair. (Sorry Edward but I had to flag you down 3 times) The food was okay, but did not stand up to your prices OR hype. The "desert" interior leads to one of the loudest places I've eaten outside of a LaLa. Based on the conversations I overheard, talking about Botox or the suburbs,I don't think I would ever go back. Also, I think it was the owner that was walking around talking to every table: you can be apart of the noise problem, wrecked my meal as you yelled at the table next to mine."
    Dined on 2/11/2014