BUCKTOWN — The outdoor pool at Midtown Athletic Club has opened, along with a 182-seat, all-day restaurant named Chromium — both for members of the private club and guests at a coming boutique hotel, The Hotel at Midtown.
Frustrated over construction delays, club members were anxious to enjoy the pool before summer ended, and it looks like this week's unseasonably warm and muggy weather will be a boon for the fitness and hospitality complex at 2444 N. Elston Ave. in Bucktown.
The 75-foot-long outdoor pool, which will become an ice rink in the winter, opened Sept. 10 after missing many completion deadlines.
Anchoring the northwest corner of Fullerton, Damen and Elston avenues and visible from the Kennedy Expy., the club started its $80 million expansion in May 2015.
The six-level 575,000 square foot club also offers a new 100-foot-long indoor pool bordered by wooden plank flooring resembling a boardwalk, two hydrotherapy pools (one inside, one outdoors), 16 tennis courts, two PGA golf simulators and more.
Chromium's contemporary American cuisine kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in full, half and shared portions, is led by executive Chef Amanda Barnes, most recently with Bucktown's Hot Chocolate.
“Our goal was to create an exciting menu with great tasting food that happens to be healthy,” Barnes said in a prepared statement.
Barnes, who has 15 years of experience and also previously worked at prominent restaurants including The Purple Pig and The Publican, sources ingredients from Illinois and Wisconsin farms such as Slagel Family Farm, Genesis Growers and Maple Creek Farms.
West Town's Dark Matter Coffee provides Chromium's cold-brew coffee and there is a rotating selection of baked goods from West Town Bakery.
Barnes' opening menu includes roasted chicken, whole snapper, tuna crudo, a twist on a Chicago-style hotdog and dishes marked as being under 500 calories.
“At Midtown, we believe active, social people lead happier, healthier lives,” Steven Schwartz, president and CEO of Midtown Athletic Clubs, said in a prepared statement. “In Amanda, we have found an amazing Executive Chef who, with her team, has shaped a menu that offers our guests beautifully balanced meals with delicious, real ingredients. We have meals perfectly suited for those seeking happier, healthy lives from options in moderation to those who want to indulge. After all, what’s life without chocolate, cheese and wine?"
Placed strategically near the pool deck and the 55-room Hotel At Midtown planning to open in November, Chromium offers 182 seats, including private dining for 16 and outdoor dining on the pool deck for 60.
The dining room at Chromium [Courtesy of Midtown Athletic Club]
Midtown members at Chromium on its busy opening weekend [Courtesy of Midtwon Athletic Club]
Richard Earney, a program director at Midtown Athletic Club, has been sharing photos of the pool on Instagram. On Saturday, Earney captured a crowded scene at the pool on its first weekend.