Earlier this evening, I was very fortunate to dine at Chef Bruce Sherman’s North Pond Restaurant. I had snagged a coveted reservation for today back in July and I wanted to report that my long wait was well rewarded.
It was not just a meal, but a total dining experience...!
From where I dropped my auto with the valet on Lakeview and Deming, the North Pond Restaurant was an easy walk under a beautiful rustic stone bridge into Lincoln Park. Along the path to the restaurant I was greeted with a riot of red and gold foliage circling a calm grey-blue pond alive with the colorful mallard ducks cavorting and calling to one another in the sunset. The scene was as welcoming and engaging as the warm lights and inviting aromas from inside the stunning restaurant set into the soft curve of the hill.
The warm and inviting restaurant structure appears as part of the landscape of the park.
It is a perfect place to enjoy a stunning view of the city over the pond, but was exceptionally beautiful this autumnal evening. My first view of the restaurant brought to mind a quote form Frank Lloyd Wright that he designed his structures and interiors to reflect the warmth of a “perennial autumn”.
The structure that houses North Pond was originally built in 1912 as a warming shelter for ice skaters. When Lincoln Park pond no longer froze in the winter, the Chicago Park District converted the building to a to a storage facility. During the 1970’s and 1980’s the building served as a concession stand for the park.
In 1998, North Pond Cafe opened. The interior was designed Nancy Warren featuring a classic Arts and Crafts motif. The new kitchen and dining room design was incorporated the original brick structure. In 2002 this same designer oversaw the enclosure of the outdoor patio and new fireplace and bar.
The restaurant re-opened as North Pond Restaurant in May of 2002.
The key elements of Arts and Crafts architecture in America were focused on craft, the use of local materials as close as possible to their natural with the design that reflected the surrounding environment. This design philosophy is evident in the Fond du Lac stone in the chimney and fireplace, and original wood and metalwork that produces a harmonious profile of the restaurant’s structure that is built into the side of a hill.
The culinary point of view of North Pond restaurant holds true to the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts ideals. The chef and his staff support local farmers and producers. In the North Pond kitchen these products are treated with respect and the path from the earth to the plate is clearly evident in the delicious food that is served here.
Next post, the chef and the food…
Saturday, November 1, 2008
North Pond Restaurant…(part one) architecture
The space within becomes the reality of the building. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright