Renaissance Chicago Hotel Goes Green with Great Street Restaurant

Following a $2 million renovation completed in June, the handsome Great Street Restaurant now has a farm-to-fork focus inside the Renaissance Downtown Chicago Hotel.

“As far as the menus, everything is going to have fresh, local highlights,” says Chef James Samson. “When I’m thinking of Chicago, I’m thinking a Garrett Popcorn pancake—and that’s just one item. It’s all about the experience, great food and the atmosphere.”

That atmosphere is a meeting planner’s dream. Retractable doors allow for flexibility while wood, marble and tiles accent the space. The main draw, however, is the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Chicago River. Three private dining rooms, which can hold between 15 and 30 people, as well as a main dining room with a maximum capacity of 240, allow for catering of all kinds of events.

“We will be able to customize anything for any group that comes into that space,” Samson says. “We have a dedicated staff that will meet with meeting planners to really drive the thought of what we’re trying to experience here in terms of local foods.”

To guarantee farm fresh ingredients, Samson uses Farm Logics software that allows him to get in touch with local farmers that are located less than 250 miles away.

“Even chefs and farmers need to get into the 21st century,” he says. “We want to be somewhat in the limelight and have that local touch, but we also want to worry about costs. This gives us an opportunity to do both at the same time.”

As a big fan of desserts, the chef is most excited about groups tasting his honey goat cheese ice cream paired with peaches.

“It speaks volumes to the summer and volumes to the craft that my staff is able to create on a daily basis,” he says.