Chicago, the City of Big Shoulders, also host to the best urban architecture and diverse food culture allows you to experience both at the top of the Wicker Park Hyatt Hotel. Wicker Park, haven to hipsters has a new breathtaking view of the stunning Chicago Skyline in their indoor/outdoor restaurant Kennedy Rooftop. Its address is 1551 West North Avenue Chicago at the intersections of North and Ashland Avenue. It sits right above its eponymous Kennedy 90/94 Expressway named in honor of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, our 35th President, shortly after he was assassinated. This new rooftop restaurant accentuates the modern urban, chic feel of Wicker Park and Bucktown while celebrating the diversity of its more than 62,000 residents.
The Wicker Park Hyatt Hotel is so conveniently located near public transportation and sits above a self-park garage free to its patrons. We even found free Chicago street parking on the side of Jonathan Burr Elementary School Park. We entered the garage level and the attendant walked us to the entrance opened the door and pressed the elevator button for the seventh floor. This was the kick off of the five-star welcome we received from the phenomenally well-trained, knowledgeable staff who served us with gracious, friendly hospitality. Kus, from Indonesia, was our hostess on Wednesday, early evening. She was so friendly and personable visiting with every table. We found out she is both the Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef. Previously, she owned her own catering business and was trained at Chicago’s prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School.
In keeping with the Hyatt Hotel’s blue and orange facade the rooftop’s decor features vibrant orange and blue comfortable seating and both high and low top eclectic tables. The rooftop design is state of the art. Televisions abound. There is a shade covering. Before seating us, they asked sun or shade. They are able to operate down to 40°. They have high tech propane heaters and an elegant fire pit. The panoramic views are most spectacular at nighttime although we thoroughly enjoyed the daytime views, especially the golfer on an adjacent roof practicing his swing, and the edge garden of flowering yellow succulents.
The cocktail, wine and beer menu is extensive. The JFK Cocktail is a monthly rotating special since our 35th President was known for his love of au courant cocktails. The food menu is simple and straightforward comfort foods. They have both paper and contactless menus you can scan on your phone. Our server Erica, who was instrumental in choosing and designing the beverage menu, even offered to make us mock cocktails. She also had great suggestions for the sharable plates. Their signature Empanadas a la Frita were enticing, but we went for the the more exotic Pani Puri, both the cheesy chickpea and chicken versions. They were delicious both crisp and savory accompanied with a Tamarind cilantro light sauce. Please try it. For dinner we shared the Classic Caesar Salad with Jumbo Shrimp. The shrimp were grilled perfectly and still warm on the delectable salad with top quality shaved Parmesan. For our entree we chose the 6-ounce grass-fed Strauss pub style burger cooked to one’s specifications on a toasted brioche bun with avocado and cheddar. It was a delight. Choose your own toppings and get ready to drool. The burger is served with crispy fries. There is also a Beyond Delicious Burger for vegetarians with a citrus arugula, avocado, roasted tomato salsa topping.
I highly recommend you enjoy an evening or a day out at the Kennedy Rooftop. Since it is first come/first serve; no reservations are currently taken. Your best bet is to come on a week day night for a delightful, celebratory experience. Bring your mask for the indoor seats and lovely restrooms marked by modern day portraits of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and JFK. The Kennedy Rooftop rocks. They are open 7 days a week. Hours are: Monday-Thursday 4:00 -11:00 p.m. Friday 4:00 -2:00 a.m. Saturday 11:00 a.m. -2:00 a.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. -10:00 p.m. Phone (773) 270-6770 kennedyrooftop website
Photos: Courtesy of Fiona Vachachira