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Dinner and a Show: Where to Eat Before ‘Chicago’

Jazz-era steakhouse founded by a showgirl

You’re going to see Chicago at the Ambassador Theater and you need to know where to eat dinner beforehand? No problem! We’ve got just the right pre-theater restaurant for the hit musical about a sensational murder trial in the 1920s that’s playing on Broadway right now.


Gallaghers, 'Chicago'

Gallaghers restaurant and  the musical ‘Chicago’ go great together (Photos: Courtesy of Gallagher’s, Inset: Jeremy Daniel)

The Show: Sexy convicts Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly razzle-dazzle the press and public in this musical based on two scandalous murder trials in Chicago. First opened on Broadway in 1975, the tale is told from prison via peppy numbers such as “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango.” Though it was nominated for 10 Tonys during its original run, Chicago didn’t win any until its 1996 revival, when it walked away with six, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (James Naughton) and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Bebe Neuwirth). Chicago has been running on the Great White Way ever since, making it the longest-running musical revival and longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

The Restaurant: Travel back in time to the Roaring Twenties, precisely when Chicago takes place, by dining three blocks away at Gallaghers. Originally opened in 1927, the spot started as a speakeasy patronized by show-biz types — the type of joint where vaudevillian Velma Kelly might have frequented, and been welcomed, as founder Helen Gallagher was a Ziegfeld showgirl herself. After the repeal of Prohibition, the speakeasy turned into a steakhouse. Recently, the landmark was in danger of closing, until Dean Poll (The Boathouse) bought it, remodeled it and unveiled its multi-million dollar renovation earlier this year.

What to Eat: Steaks and chops are the house specialties, from a New York sirloin ($49) to roast prime rib ($47) to the popular veal loin ($47) — they are all aged and butchered on the premises. All of the expected steakhouse accoutrements are available on the side, such as creamed spinach ($12) and mashed potatoes ($10), but don’t pass by the house-made potato chips ($11). There’s plenty of seafood available, too, for those not feeling so meaty.

What Else to Know: Check out the famous meat locker, with a window out onto 52nd street. It’s a show in its own right, where passers-by can gawk at hunks of marbled meat as they age.

For more restaurants near Chicago, see our Theater District dining listings.
For where to drink after Chicago, see our post-theater bar suggestion.

228 W. 52nd St.

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