River Roast: An authentic taste of Chicago with great river views

River Roast: An authentic taste of Chicago with great river views

Tony Mantuano's (Spiaggia & Maddon’s Post--coming to Wrigleyville in May) contemporary American tavern, River Roast (315 N LaSalle Dr), is good any time of the year but my favorite time is when things start heating up along the river.

Walk, take an Uber or ride the water taxi to this multi-level space, located inside the historic Reid Murdoch building, that is River Roast.

Perched above Chicago's Riverwalk Walk, River Roast has a bird's eye view of the kayakers, electric rental boats, private yachts, giant tour boats, barges and water taxis all vying for their place in the sunlight (or moonlight).

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Boat traffic on the Chicago River. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Looking out the expansive windows at River Roast, you can catch all the action along the river and see runners, dog walkers, strollers and sitters jamming the riverwalk along with an eclectic selection of watering holes and restaurants beckoning the masses.

Lower level with a view of the river. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Lower level with a view of the river. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

A look inside

The rustic two-story restaurant is tastefully divided into a series of comfortable areas with an industrial flair and rich dark woods. On the street level you'll find a dining and grab and go area. Head one flight down to the river level that features a welcoming dining area, a bar, an open kitchen, an outdoor patio and a river view from almost every spot in the restaurant plus extensive private dining spaces.

On the menu

Maker's Mark Manhattan. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Maker's Mark Manhattan. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Inventive libations curated by beverage director Ken Pritz are available in single portion or large format offered tableside for groups to share. There's also a bottle service cocktail ($90) that features Manhattans with Rye Whiskey, Vermouth di Torino and Walnut.

All the classic cocktails are available as well as some original preparations including Sylvia's Wrathe (14) with Blanco Tequila, Mezcal, Rabarbaro, Cassis and Lime. An intriguing mist of Temperance (zero-proof/non-alchol libations are also available along with an extensive wine and beer menu.

The food is American tavern comfort food kicked up a notch.

The riverfront location serves as the perfect backdrop for the restaurants seafood shack and smokehouse appeal. Of course, roasts are big thus the name River Roast. As the name suggests, the kitchen's focus is on roasting. The menu has a whole section dedicated to roasts plus a "Roast of the Month." All are carved tableside and served with baked-then-fried potatoes that are insane. An interesting variety of sides are available and served in large shareable portions. Riverroastmenu

We stopped by Thursday for a taste.

Bring your appetite. The portions are large.

We ordered the Porterhouse, the roast of the month for March. It can be ordered as is or " Oscar Style" served  with Bearnaise, King Crab and Broccolini--definitely the way to go in my opinion, The charred Porterhouse with a salt and pepper crust was so flavorful and tender that the Bearnaise wasn't even needed. The King Crab and the sauce that came with the Porterhouse was outstanding and the Broccolini was the perfect accompaniment.

Porterhouse with broccolini Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Porterhouse with broccolini Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

For early diners or before theater, River Roast, offers a "Happy Hour" menu daily from 3 to 5 pm. featuring a $10 Burger with Double Patties, Caramelized Onion, Bibb Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, American Cheese, 1000 Island Dressing on a Brioche Bun or an interesting Chopped Salad also priced at $10 along with other snack food and Charcuterie. Beverages include a Daily Punch (7); Local beers (5); the RR Old Fashioned (7) or Miller High Life for $3.

Located on the Chicago River, River Roast offers dramatic city and water views from one of the best patios in the city and an authentic taste of Chicago.

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