Queenie’s Supper Club opened on the second floor of The United Center in Chicago last week, and you don’t need a ticket to get in. Open on event days, Queenie’s will serve both ticket-buyers and the general public, with access from the main atrium. An attention-grabbing sign flashes over the atrium, announcing the presence of this new supper club that stakeholders hope “resonates with locals and fans alike,” says Matt Eisler of Heisler Hospitality, the restaurant group operating Queenie’s.
“Queenie’s is a place to create memories and experience the energy of the arena, while enjoying some of the best food and drinks in the city,” Eisler says
Heisler Executive Chef Dan Snowden (known for Chicago’s edgy veggie-forward restaurant, Bad Hunter) has created a menu that draws inspiration from old-time Wisconsin supper clubs, places designed to gather with family and friends and feel cozy.
Hearty Midwestern items like broasted chicken, fried walleye and jumbo shrimp scampi linguini are standouts on the menu, and there’s a section just for steak (the herb-crusted prime rib comes in 12-, 16- and 20-ounce sizes) and another section for side dishes, like Snowden’s family recipe coleslaw and warm spinach salad. The “Queenie’s Jr.” menu includes mac ‘n cheese and chicken tenders.
The appetizer menu definitely encourages sharing and reminiscing over classics like bacon-wrapped scallops, shrimp cocktail, fried Wisconsin cheese curds and smoked trout dip with housemade “Ritzy” crackers.
The atmosphere of Queenie’s is also faithful to those good old supper clubs that are making such a comeback today: comfy tufted booths and banquettes, taxidermy here and there, a piano in the middle of the main dining area. And there are plenty of screens to watch the action happening at any given sporting or entertainment event so diners won’t miss a thing.
Of note are three semi-private “cave booths” that can seat up to eight people and have personal televisions and curtains. The 270-seat dining room opens out onto a balcony that overlooks the atrium and gives the illusion of outdoor dining.
And drinks are just as you’d hope to find in such a setting: brandy old fashioned, frothy amaretto sours and even some fun retro ice cream cocktails like the orange whip and brandy Alexander. Craft beers from the Midwest are slated to change seasonally with the menu.
“Approachable, nostalgic, classy and ultimately convenient” is how the supper club should come across as it gets into a groove this fall, says Kevin O’Brien, director of food and beverage at The United Center.