Club Lago has been the constant in the ever-changing downtown Chicago. Originally opened to serve the printers and paper salesmen who worked in the warehouse district around Superior and Orleans, Club Lago has become the cornerstone in what is now known as trendy River North. The old fashioned Italian restaurant is nothing like most of the seen-and-be-seen spots in the area; it has been family-owned for three generations when original owners Gus and Ida Lazzarini used their savings to open an authentic Italian restaurant reminiscent of their home in Florence, Italy.
The mouthwatering dishes at Club Lago are served in generous portions with fresh bread for the table – a rarity at many restaurants these days. The food is reasonably priced and so authentic that we aren’t entirely convinced that they don’t have an Italian grandma working in the kitchen. My fettuccine alfredo was served piping hot, covered in a thick cream sauce and the chicken parmigiana was perfectly breaded, served with an enormous side of pasta. The vegetarian in our group ordered the linguine with red clam sauce, which did not disappoint.
If you’ve come for the food, you’ll stay for the ambience. The tin ceiling, red and white checkered table cloths, and dark lighting make you feel like you’ve walked into a scene in The Godfather. The interior looks like it hasn’t been updated since it opened in 1952 – in a good way. On any given weeknight you will find a mix of white-collar businessmen relaxing after work, a family enjoying quality time over good food and a group of good ol’ boys posted at the bar.
When you’re tired of the dressed up Italian food commonly found downtown, head to Club Lago for an old school Chicago dining experience. And where else can you find wine by the glass for $5.50 in River North?!
Club Lago, 331 W. Superior. For more information call 312-951-2849 or visit www.clublago.com.
Whitney Hewitt is the founder of Gatz Optimize, a social media consulting and marketing agency. With over eight years in marketing and communications, Hewitt puts her skills to work for both small businesses and Fortune 500 corporations. She is also the President of the Chicago chapter of Femfessionals, a professional organization dedicated to connecting and promoting savvy women in the Windy City. Follow Whitney @GatzSocialMedia.