SafeHouse Chicago – River North’s Espionage Hideout
Written By: Natalie Rose Hilvert
Deep underground the Chicago neighborhood of River North sits a top-secret spy hideout. Only the most intuitive operatives gain access to the security of SafeHouse, Chicago’s new location of the Milwaukee-based bar and restaurant. The original SafeHouse opened in the sixties. After becoming a Milwaukee favorite SafeHouse Restaurants purchased a prime location in River North bringing the concept to the heart of the Windy City.
Journey west on Ontario St. past the Grand Lux Café and TJ Maxx, and you will see a red door marked “60 E. Ontario.” In order to maintain its secret status and exclusivity no sign is displayed. As you enter the restaurant you will find yourself in a non-descript office and asked to recite a password. If you don’t have a password, that’s okay, but you will be prompted to complete a spy challenge to prove your not an enemy. The interior of SafeHouse looks like something out of a movie. The décor of the Chicago location is much very modern and well designed. Guests are provided a checklist of duties to complete around the restaurant, each item on the list is a unique aspect to the restaurant, such as trapped door and secret rooms. Even the restrooms adhere to the spy theme, the men’s room has a golden urinal “for the man with the Golden Gun.”
This super-secret hideaway isn’t a culinary groundbreaker but the food is tasty and the atmosphere is very unique. I started with the Espionage, an Avion Tequila, Patron Citronge liqueur, and Pomegranate making for a fruity Margarita. For an appetizer, my guest and I tried the Camp X Poutine, a delicious pile of French Fries topped with Wisconsin White Cheddar Cheese Curds, Portabello Mushroom Gravy and topped with a Fried Egg. The Tradecraft Tacos were served to us next, hand-breaded Cod served with Cole Slaw, Cilantro, Lime Vinaigrette, and Chipotle Ranch on Flour Tortillas. This is a pretty traditional Mid-west fish-taco, not bad but my palate is enslaved by my memories of the West Coast.
My guest had the Goldfinger Grilled Cheese, a dairy delight which oozed with cheesy goodness. The thick-cut toasted bread contains a heaping pile of American, Parmesan and Pepperjack with a side of marinara and C4 Cheese Curds. At the end of the meal, I did an overall assessment. The food was good but the real prize of this place is atmosphere curated at SafeHouse. Delicious crafty drinks and fun features of this top-secret SafeHouse are the real draw here. SafeHouse is a great place to grab a drink after work, take a fun first date, or show your family a unique experience. SafeHouse is a must see for people looking to have a little adventure. This is not your average restaurant it’s for the thrill seeker, the adventurer, and the secret agent in all of you. If you are truly seeking a taste of the espionage-life bring quarters with you. You can make your escape through a phone-booth and ditch your tail.
SafeHouse is open from 11am-2am Sunday through Friday and until 3am on Saturday. Happy Hour at SafeHouse is from 4PM to 6PM Monday through Thursday. During Happy Hour you can grab $4 domestic deers, $5 well-drinks, and $6 glasses of select wine. $6 appetizers during Happy Hour include C4 Cheese Curds, Camp Stanley Nachos, R-Q1 Onion Rings, and the Bird Watchers Wings.