Restaurants , Contemporary American Lincoln Square
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(7 user reviews)
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 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha Williams

Half chicken at Gather

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha Williams

Irish stout chili with crispy corn cakes at Gather

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha Williams

Sticky buns at Gather

One Wednesday night I walked into Gather at 9:45 and asked if the restaurant was still serving. “We’re open until 11pm no matter what,” the host said. On this and subsequent evenings, this guy proved to be one of the more gracious front-of-house folks working today. But I wish he had dissuaded me, because I took a seat at the bar and ate a meal that lasted until 11pm, and it was terribly awkward—before I could even finish my soup, the restaurant cleared out, leaving me as the only patron.

So, yes, it was nice of the staff to let me sit there, but Gather should really just close at 10pm. This is not a late-night spot; instead, it’s been built from top to bottom as a place to bring the parents, go on a third date or celebrate whatever upwardly mobile milestone Lincoln Square residents celebrate—kid got on the cheerleading squad, sister got into Harvard.

If you’re with a group, great—Gather is built for this, and has a section on the menu (“gather and share”) dedicated to feeding you. It’s made up of dishes like charcuterie boards, a shareable short rib chili (you spread it on corn cakes), steak tartare served with housemade brioche. These are satisfying enough but will likely be consumed without comment. Hey, at least the food’s not getting in the way of conversation, right?

Chef Ken Carter’s talents are more easily accessed when you’re ordering for yourself. Not with the squash soup necessarily (it’s got all the ambitious trappings of a fine-dining soup, but the myriad garnishes never coalesce), but certainly with the housemade tagliatelle, which is tossed in a perky mushroom sauce. And definitely with his chicken—half roasted, half fried, all perfect. And, interestingly enough, also for dessert. Carter’s sticky buns, served bubbling in a cast-iron skillet, are a soft, buttery mess of dough and caramel. And where the sticky buns are hefty, the apple fritters are light and airy. More than tasting good, these desserts lend something else to meals here: the sense that, finally, at the very end of the meal, Gather is letting its hair down.

Venue name: Gather
Address: 4539 N Lincoln Ave

Cross street: between Sunnyside and Wilson Aves
Opening hours: Mon-Wed 5pm-10pm; Thurs 5pm-11pm; Fri, Sat 5pm-midnight; Sun 10am-2pm, 5pm-10pm
Transport: El stop: Brown to Western. Bus: 11, 49, 50.
Price: Average main course: $20
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Abigail Y

The food is incredible, the service impeccable and the ambiance unbeatable. What a beautiful space Gather created for the Lincoln Square community!

Sara M

David and team do such a nice job of making you feel at home! Their inviting and welcome ways not to mention their DELICIOUS food never disappoints. I think I have eaten every thing on the menu and well, I have loved every bite! And if you haven't tried their outdoor setting, it is transformative, romantic and special!

Heather P.

Just dined next to the mayor, no biggie! I'm sorry, all politics aside, if the mayor of Chicago decides he would like to dine here with some friends, then I have to think, it's got to be a pretty good restaurant, right?! Gotta figure he gets invited to a lot of the top notch city spots.

Then, I'm told that this place was on Check Please. So - it's got that going for it.

Then the service - the guy working the door was extremely personable and went out of his way to find us a place to sit that he thought we would like. The server was like a friend by the end of the night, we were chit chatting about other diners, places around the city, and the restaurant's history.  Our server also made tons of recommendations and we basically went with all of them. Every morsel of food we ordered was delectable. From drinks to brussel sprouts, I was wowed by all of it.

I would definitely go back. My husband proclaimed it his new favorite restaurant - drinks alone were awesome and the service might be the best I've ever experienced!

Adam K

The food, especially the brunch is amazing. Plenty of options ranging from sweet to savory. The cocktails are excellent too and the patio is quite nice

sophie d

What a beautiful, delicious, friendly, comfortable, elegant, hidden gem of a restaurant. The dining room is so beautifully appointed and the back patio is ethereal. This sets the perfect stage for the most delicious food. I don't think I've ever taken a bad bite at this wonderful neighborhood spot.