WASHINGTON PARK — There was a time when a night out on the town would call for putting on your best. With The Park Supper Club, MaryAnn Marsh hopes to put a 21st-century spin on a bygone era.
The supper club, now open on the ground floor of the Kelo Art residences, 65 E. Garfield Blvd., offers live music and accessible cuisine against a chic, sophisticated backdrop. The club is similiar to the M Lounge, which Marsh and her husband, Reginald, have run since the mid-aughts.
Though Washington Park wasn’t on the owners’ radar — the duo was exploring the possibility of opening another South Loop venue — acquaintance and local developer Torrey Barrett, who is also part-owner of the building, sought them out on the advice of mutual friends.
“The thing about Torrey that’s really compelling is … how much he loves Washington Park,” Marsh said. “We didn’t know much about Washington Park, but when he was telling us about the neighborhood and how his father had started this church [the elder Barrett is pastor of The Life Center C.O.G.I.C] and was working with youth in the area … . We came by the space, looked at it and said, ‘If you can do this here, we can do this here.'”
The Marshes officially moved their restaurant into the space in 2019 with an eye on opening the following year, but COVID-19 derailed their plans.
While the pandemic proved a bit a setback, the delay allowed the couple to fine-tune their vision for the supper club: a venue that would complement M Lounge and their nightclub, Persona, but have a distinct vibe — and serve food.
For the food, the Marshes enlisted Christopher Banks, another Washington Park native. His mesquite-smoked grilled salmon will easily win over the pickiest of palates, swears Marsh.
Diners can enjoy other entreés like brick oven chicken ($18) and herb grilled shrimp or Margherita flatbread ($14) while listening to the supper club’s resident pianist tickle the ivories. Desserts are covered by Mona Laseter of Suga Mona’s Homemade Cakes, a self-taught South Sider.
For people in need of a spirit or cocktail, the fully-stocked bar offers wine, beer and a selection of mixed drinks, including a French 75 and a “Cleotini” — a cocktail with Tito’s vodka, Aperol and pineapple juice — in honor of Barrett’s mother, Cleopatra.
With the outdoor patio opening in the summer, and an adjacent room reserved for private events, Marsh hopes to keep the supper club booked and busy.
“This is like the Cotton Club. A callback to a 1925 Harlem nightclub. Everything I love is really in the early 1900s,” Marsh chuckled. “Thank goodness I’m not there.”
The Park Supper Club is open 4 p.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: