You no longer need to shop till you drop. Instead, stop for a second and eat. Stores have opened restaurants right inside, making shopping an experience for all the senses. Admit it: You’ve always wanted to test out Crate & Barrel serving ware before you host a dinner party. And it’s likely you sport Lululemon threads to a juice bar post-class, so why not do it all in one place? Also, haven’t you been looking for a place just like Space519, where you can buy your bestie’s birthday gift and treat her to lunch after? Welcome to browsing with benefits.
If you’ve ever wanted to dine inside a Crate & Barrel catalog, this is the place to do it. The brand’s clean, timeless furniture and accessories fill the restaurant and acclaimed chef Bill Kim has an open kitchen to survey all of the action.
“I’m cooking how my wife and I like to eat at home,” says Kim of this new Oak Brook venture. That’s not the Asian dumplings and bowls many have come to expect from the Urbanbelly chef, but rather light and bright dishes that highlight seasonal vegetables from the farmers he’s been partnering with over the years.
With all the serving pieces at his disposal Kim “was like a kid in a candy store,” creatively plating each menu item. The Farmer’s Market crudité ($14) with smoked white bean hummus and red pepper sauce is simple but served in a visually grand way — in a beautiful glass platter over a bowl of ice, shrimp cocktail style. The deep-dish cauliflower lasagna ($28) nestles perfectly into a serving dish the size of a head of cauliflower. 35 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook; 630-590-9444; tableatcrate.com
What if you could buy butter-soft yoga pants, take a flow class, and refuel afterward all in the same space? That was the idea behind Lululemon’s newest two-story experiential store. The second-floor restaurant is all about intuitive eating, with a little help from Chicago’s Blue Plate Catering and Lululemon ambassador and dietitian Mia Zarlengo.
The seasonal menu is designed to have something for everyone from a preworkout smoothie you can order via touchscreen downstairs or a hearty, indulgent cheeseburger to reward yourself after a sweat sesh. The open, inviting space is perfect for cozying on a couch with coffee or catching up with friends over Beets and Blossoms toast ($10) with multicolored beets, ricotta cheese, colorful edible flowers, honeycomb, hazelnut, and a glass of wine. 944 W. North; 312-601-2134; lululemon.com
This highly curated, constantly changing Gold Coast boutique is filled with unique accessories and clothes inspired by the owners’ travels, so why should the restaurant be any different? The Lunchroom, a 40-seat all-day café with a travel-inspired menu, has been a hidden gem since it opened last year. This summer they added The Patio, a European-style sidewalk cafe tucked off of a tree-lined street with teak tables shaded by large umbrellas.
The menu is the same outdoors, focusing on flavor-forward cuisine like the Mahi Mahi Baja Beach Tacos ($20) with roasted pineapple and hatch green chile salsa; or indulgent Farmer’s Market French toast ($16), ciabatta bread stuffed with mascarpone cheese and seasonal fruit for weekend brunch paired with their Space519 Bloody Mary ($14). 200 E. Chestnut; 312-751-1519; space519.com