Block 37 Gets Another Massive Restaurant with the Dearborn
Though Amy and Clodagh Lawless come from a restaurant family, the forthcoming American tavern is their first solo venture.
By Penny Pollack and Matt Pollock
Published Dec. 2, 2015
As the Loop’s retail playground Block 37 continues to fill with tenants, next on deck is the Dearborn (145 N. Dearborn St., Loop, no phone yet), a 225-seat mega-tavern by Irish sisters Amy and Clodagh Lawless (daughters of Billy Sr. and sisters of Billy Jr., both prolific Chicago restaurateurs) opening in June.
Despite the Lawless sisters’ collective lifetime slinging drinks in their dad’s Irish grub pubs, the Dearborn is decidedly American. “A huge part of our concept is the American tavern,” says Clodagh, who followed her sister and father from Ireland in 1998 to manage Lawless Sr.’s Wrigleyville bar, Irish Oak. “We want a fun, lively tavern in the heart of the Loop and also a place to celebrate graduation and parents’ anniversaries.” A 22-seat private dining room will suit the latter, with what remains of the Dearborn’s 8,000 square feet housing the former.
The Dearborn will be chef-driven, says Amy, but she and her sister have yet to name the mystery man. “He’s very into helping the local economy,” says Clodagh. “Farmers markets are a big part of his passion.” Past that, menu details are scant, but the Lawless sisters promise a hamburger. Pressed on injecting their own culinary heritage into the Dearborn, the Lawlesses punt. “Stews and [the like] are not going on the menu,” says Amy. “But the Irish hospitality will be in full force.”