Oct 3, 2023 - Things to Do

Signature Room's closing prompts nostalgia and litigation

Signature Room's epic views. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/GettyImages

The sudden closing last week of the iconic Signature Room at the top of 875 N. Michigan Ave., aka the John Hancock, surprised many of our readers.

Driving the news: It also caught workers at the restaurant unaware, which led to the filing of a lawsuit on Monday.

Zoom in: We asked you last week to offer your favorite memories of the Chicago landmark.

  • From engagements and romance to milestone birthdays (and even an insider's glimpse), Axios readers shared fond remembrances:

🧑‍🍳 What you're saying: Lorin A. was a chef at that location in the mid-1980s, when it was 95th Restaurant. "Not all views were for the guests," Lorin says.

  • "Lucky us in the kitchen. It was a great spot for a 22 year old to learn the ropes in a fine dining kitchen."
Two old side-by-side menus from Chicago's Signature Room, with soups, salads and specialties listed.
Copies of the mid-'80s menus at the 95th Restaurant.  See more on our Instagram. Photos: Courtesy of Lorin A.

Stephanie N. visited as an annual trip for her mom's birthday.

  • "We always arrived with our fingers crossed that the host was going to walk us over to a coveted window table. After dinner at the Signature Room we would take a horse and carriage ride."

Peter D.: "I was at a holiday cocktail party in 1989. I looked out the windows to the west and saw a black cloud barreling toward the building. The cold front slammed the building hard; the chandeliers were swinging to a horizontal position. Dead silence. Then the party resumed."

Barbara H.: "Walking off the holiday meal along the Magnificent Mile, then heading up to the Signature Room at 4pm for an after dinner drink with a view. I have brought as many as 12 people and never needed a reservation."

What we're watching: Signature Room owners have not said what will happen with the space, but of course social media was ripe with ideas.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the Signature Room's location was occupied in the '80s by 95th Restaurant, whose mid-'80s menus (not the Signature Room's) are shown in the photo.

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