This article originally appeared in Chicago Eater on October 16, 2019.
Chicago’s tallest skyscraper, Willis Tower, hosts about 2 million annual visitors on its Skydeck, and that should provide ample customers for its new restaurants opening later this year and throughout 2020. There are several stages for the project which has been in the works for two years. Shake Shack opens on Wednesday, while Brown Bag Seafood Co. and Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken have already been open for about a month. There’s also a food hall overlooking the first-floor atrium.
While the former Sears Tower will always see tourists, the improvements, part of an $500 million renovation plan, are meant to make the building relevant to locals, EQ Office’s Kirsten Hull said. At a media event on Monday, Hull spoke about little touches throughout the space meant to appeal to Chicagoans. One floor is supposed to feel like the West Loop/Fulton Market. Another is supposed to represent Gold Coast. The revamped atrium is meant to give Skydeck visitors a sparkling new entrance. Curbed Chicago has more on the overall plan, including info about the new co-worker space.
The umbrella name for the project is called Catalog, a nod to Sears Holdings Corporation. Sears called the tower home before moving to suburban Hoffman Estates. Customers would browse the store’s mail-order catalog, called the Wishbook. As retail flocks to online ordering, Hull called the catalog “the original retail disruptor.” There are various components for the project: some are ground-floor restaurants, and then there’s Urbanspace, the food hall from a New York company that has plans for two Chicago locations. They’re bringing Roberta’s pizza from Brooklyn to both. Read more.