Empire Building

Jean-Georges Vongerichten Takes Over the Pump Room

Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Jean-Georges Vongerichten Photo: Patrick McMullan

Fresh off ABC Kitchen’s win for Best New Restaurant at this year’s James Beard Awards, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is officially set to reboot the Pump Room at the old Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago. Ever since Ian Schrager bought the aging hotel in the goldest part of the Gold Coast, we’ve been wondering what he had planned for what was probably the most storied restaurant in town. Famous as a celebrity hangout about 50 years ago, it was immortalized in song by “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town)” back in 1939 (Sing it Judy!). That said, it was in a steep decline when it closed, and most of its furniture was auctioned off over the summer. While Schrager has decided to change the Ambassador East’s name to Public, the Pump Room’s name remains the same. That said, just about everything else about it will change.

Eater first picked up the rumor earlier this month, but this morning Chicago magazine confirmed that Vongerichten was in, and it claims that the restaurant will actually be modeled off of Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen in New York. Expect lots of talk about “local purveyors and regional flavors.” It also should be “reasonably priced,” which is kind of in line with ABC Kitchen’s current menu.

Interestingly, the restaurant will transform at night into what’s being called a supper club, which will recapture “the glamour of the thirties and forties with a modern twist.” Also, Vongerichten will help develop the menu for the Library, which will be a coffee bar by day, and then turn into a “sexy lounge” at night with “small-plated exotic food.”

The opening date has not been confirmed, but you can expect to hear more very soon.

Dish Flash: Ian Schrager’s Plans for the Ambassador East and the Pump Room—Public and Jean-Georges Vongerichten [Chicago Magazine]

Jean-Georges Vongerichten Takes Over the Pump Room