Seven Questions for Billy Lawless
Lawless, who co-owns The Gage (24 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-372-4243) with his wife, Catherine Gilmore-Lawless, gave us the scoop on his new place under construction next door.
D: So what’s it called?
BL: Henri. An homage to Louis Henri Sullivan, the father of the skyscraper.
D: How far along is it?
BL: We started construction ten days ago. Should be a three- to four-and-a-half-month process. I hope to be installing furniture by mid-July.
D: Will it be similar to The Gage?
BL: Very different. The Gage is very masculine in terms of all the hard surfaces. Henri will be more elegant. It will have a lot of fabrics and some beautiful chandeliers. It’s very intimate. Only about 70 seats in total.
D: Does that also mean a different vibe?
BL: The Gage is definitely rambunctious. I certainly want energy [at Henri, but] I don’t want to eat in an empty restaurant. Henri will be a little more mellow because we’ve learned a lot in terms of sound engineering.
D: Who’s making the food?
BL: Dirk [Flanigan, the chef at The Gage] will do an interesting blend using a little French technique, but it’s an American restaurant. We’re using the best of local produce. Some of the dishes we have tried already—we’ve tried a lamb Châteaubriand for two. And he’s also done a lobster Thermidor. Chris Cubberly will be chef de cuisine. He’s been working with Dirk in the Gage kitchen for the last year and a half.
D: Anything else you want to tell us?
BL: All this would not be possible without my wife.
D: Is this an Academy Awards acceptance speech?
BL: Cathy is my partner in all things. Sometimes I don’t listen, but usually I come around.
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