LINCOLN SQUARE — As Chicagoans emerge from months of winter hibernation, Lincoln Square's outdoor dining scene is springing to life, turning Lincoln Avenue into one long sidewalk cafe.
Open on three sides, the terrace is completely covered by a vaulted roof that's edged with glass "visors" to protect patrons from all but the most horizontal of rains. Heaters and enclosure flaps will be deployed during cooler months to make the terrace a three-season space.
"I think they're going to be two different experiences," said Gather owner David Breo, distinguishing between the terrace and main dining room.
"It's a different energy for sure," he said of the terrace, which he envisions as a space for noshing, relaxing and "just chilling."
Terrace seating will be first-come, first-served; no reservations will be taken. While the full Sunday brunch menu will be served in both seating areas, the kitchen, headed by chef Ken Carter, has developed a separate menu for the terrace that leans toward lighter bites and shared plates — think beet salad and steamed mussels. Gather's full menu of entrees will be available only in the main indoor dining room.
The truncated menu isn't intended to rush patrons — quite the opposite.
"It says it on the menu," said Breo. "We encourage long stays and late nights."