Over the last few years the space at 4539 N. Lincoln has had many different flavors. She She, which closed in 2005, was followed by Soiree Bar and Restaurant, then Troy Graves’ Tallulah and finally, the latest iteration, LM Bistro. Now that LM has moved its operation to River North, the space has a new tenant: Gather, a restaurant with a shared plates approach and no-frills atmosphere, which should have staying power in the quaint Lincoln Square enclave.
Gather is the first operation from restaurant group Community Food + Wine, headed up by NoMI and Spiaggia vet — and Lincoln Square resident — David Breo. “Our vision was a vibrant space where friends can enjoy each other’s company with items that are elevated, but still approachable and affordable,” says Breo. “As a resident, I have insight as to what the neighborhood needed, and we felt our concept was a perfect fit.”
To execute the idea, the team brought in chef Ken Carter, a Charlie Trotter alum, who is whipping up appetizers such as crispy pork belly with butternut squash and romesco sauce ($11) and entrees like pan-seared walleye ($20) or half chicken with sweet potato gnocchi ($18). But the heart of the menu is the section labeled Gather and Share, featuring nine items that are ideal to kick off a meal, or act as accompaniments to an extended tour of the restaurant’s wine and cocktail lists. Order up another drink and stay sated with dishes like whipped ricotta served with a smear of honeycomb and balsamic ($8), or grilled flatbread topped with house-made pork sausage and caramelized onions ($10). Comfort food plays a notable role on Carter’s menu: An Irish stout chili ($10) comes with slices of corn cake, a deliciously salty brandade ($10) is accompanied with thick potato blinis and a hamachi crudo appetizer ($12) is sprinkled with small kettle chips.
The charming space — made even warmer by the glow of the open kitchen — makes it easy to order up one more drink (a quick glance behind the bar reveals a slew of really good Scotches) and dig back into conversation. You won’t want to leave this gathering — especially when the weather outside is frightful.
4539 N. Lincoln, (773) 506-9300, Gatherchicago.com