Earning Their Chops

The Chicago Chop House is a mouth-watering historical landmark

T-Bone steak (Photos by Leigh Loftus Photography/Chicago Chop House)

It’s the only freestanding 120-year-old Victorian brownstone in Chicago. It is also the city’s only Irish steakhouse since 1986. The famed Chicago Chop House in the River North neighborhood is brimming with history from the inside out, but it’s about to get a little refresh. Chicago native and hospitality veteran, Matthew McCahill, recently purchased Chicago Chop House and his roots in the restaurant business run deep.

“My father designed and built restaurants and bars for a living. For me, it’s great to take something and restore it back to what it was,” said McCahill, who has always had a love for steakhouses. “We’re bringing the memory back for what the Chicago Chop House once was. I saw the promise for what is to come and I’m excited to put it all together.”

With longterm waiters and bartenders and a kitchen staff that has been serving up delicious cuisine for 15 years (Chef Hector has been with the restaurant since 1988), Chicago Chop House is a family business. Under the new ownership the restaurant is keeping things fresh, with new menu items, a third-floor speakeasy dining room and Victorian-style outdoor patio and garden area (with a cast iron fence from the late 1800s) to open in the spring. Now, onto the food.

Choose from a lovely wine and spirits selection, say cheers and then get down to the meal. To start, the lobster bisque is creamy and offers the perfect amount of sweet lobster. The Chop House’s signature crab cake with red pepper aioli is also a solid choice, as are the fresh salads. The steak, of course, comes highly recommended.

As for the sides, no steak dinner is complete without Yukon mashed potatoes and creamed spinach as staples. Legendary menu items include a 64-ounce porterhouse steak, 12-ounce “petite” New York strip and whopping 32-ounce lobster tail. The dinner menu now includes an extensive choice of steak cuts and sizes to appeal to a variety of appetites. And as any filet should, the filets at the Chicago Chop House cut like butter.

New menu highlights include a 24 ounce Dry-Aged Tomahawk Ribeye; 20 ounce Beyond Prime, Prime Rib; Baked Chilean Sea Bass with tropical salsa and mixed greens; Pan Fried Lake Perch with lemon butter sauce and crispy capers and a Molten Chocolate Lava Cake for dessert.

“I always recommend the steak, but also the shrimp cocktail,” said McCahill. “I’m a big fan of the spinach salad with Applewood smoked bacon and everything is made in house. We also have dry aged and wet aged meat.”

Chicago Chop House stays true to its name by butchering all of its meat in-house, which allows guests to order custom sizes. They also have their own dry-aged facility where meat is aged for 30 days.

“I love that feeling that people walk in and they’re coming into a home,” said McCahill of the interior, which exudes a warm, rich atmosphere of dark wood, emerald green walls and hundreds of black and white historical photos of actors, politicians and famous builders of Chicago. “We have every Chicago mayor on our walls.”

Enjoy an evening of Chicago’s history at this classic Irish steakhouse that builds on tradition and embraces a modern future.

Chicago Chop House is located at 60 W Ontario St., Chicago. Call 312-787-7100 or visit www.chicagochophouse.com.

Find more from LIW‘s visit to Chicago here:

Jennifer Fauci
Jennifer Fauci is the former managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group's award-winning special sections and Anton’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of six PCLI awards.


  1. Hi Jennifer,

    I met Chef Hector in person when I was living in Chicago.
    I want to go back to the Chicago Chop House restaurant …
    I hope it’s as you describe it now.
    thank you so much

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