Shaw’s Oyster Bar

It’s been a while since my husband and I went out for dinner during the week. We just didn’t feel like cooking this week and wanted something casual in the River North neighborhood. We decided to try Shaw’s Oyster Bar which is just around the corner from the Hampton! When we walked in, there were numerous high-top tables situated throughout the bar area and a definite buzz and feeling of excitement flowing throughout the restaurant. Overall, a great exciting first impression. We were greeted and promptly seated.

Oyster Bar

Oyster Bar

Our server approached our table within the first two minutes after we had sat down. His attire was crisp and professional – a black vest, black tie, black pants, and white shirt. His casual professionalism and overall personality made us feel welcome and excited to begin our meal. When it came time to start discussing food and drink options, he was able to answer all of our questions and gave several excellent recommendations. By the way he described the preparation and presentation of the appetizer and entrée recommendations, you could tell he had a great knowledge of the menu and that he was confident answering all of our questions.

The Menu

The Menu

We started with the Godzilla Maki Roll which had six generous pieces of fresh maki made with a colorful mix of smoked salmon, avocado, shrimp tempura, and unagi accompanied by a small portion of wasabi and ginger on a white rectangular dish. Very refreshing and enjoyable overall! The overall textural balance between the crunch of the shrimp tempura and the softness of the smoked salmon, unagi, and avocado was amazing. Great appetizer option. We would 100% order this again.

I ordered the Grilled Columbia River King Salmon for an entrée. The salmon filet was served atop sautéed spinach and bacon pieces and topped with a cool heirloom tomato salsa served on a large oval plate. Great sizeable dish overall. The tenderness of the salmon filet paired extremely well with the cool crispness of the heirloom tomato salsa and the saltiness of the sautéed spinach and bacon. The tomato salsa also added a great color to the dish. Great entrée selection overall!

What is dinner without dessert? Selecting which one is always such a tough call. Shaw’s make this easy with the Dessert Sampler! Small taste portions of raspberry pie, chocolate cake, key lime pie, and crème brulee served with a small dollop of whipped cream on a long rectangular plate. Wow! A great dessert option overall! The raspberry pie and whipped cream were very refreshing and sweet. The chocolate cake was very rich and decadent overall. The key lime pie was very light, tart, and refreshing and the small dish of crème brulee very rich and flavorful and prepared perfectly with a crisp topping and cool smooth interior. Great dessert option!

The overall pace of the meal was excellent. We had enough time to savor each course without feeling rushed. Each dish was presented and prepared very well. Our server was very attentive throughout the meal and maintained the cleanliness and the order of the table. We can’t wait to go back to Shaw’s Oyster bar. This restaurant is an excellent value, the food quality and presentation is excellent overall. We really liked its fun, welcoming, and casual atmosphere.


Chicago Transit Authority Gets Into the Holiday Spirit!

I have lived in Chicago for the past 7 years, and this is the first time that I have been able to experience the Holiday Train. For the duration of my commute home from The Hampton Inn & Suites I could not help but smile. Generally my work commute consists of me playing words with friends and listening to Pandora on my phone. But this time it was different, as I mentioned I could not help but smile.

As the train pulled into the Grand station, one block away from the Hampton Inn & Suites, my eyes widened and I felt a wave come over me of true holiday cheer. The train is a little bit shorter than a regular train, roughly about six-cars long. It is decorated with holiday seasonal images and thousands of multi-colored lights on the outside of the cars as well as on top. It is truly amazing how a little holiday cheer brightened up my day on my way home from work.
The best part about the experience is that Santa and his elves were also riding the train with me. As we pull into each station, Santa would waive to the boarding passengers from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees. There were a lot of families and children so it was a little crowded, but their faces truly made my experience that much more pleasant. Santa would stop to visit with the children on the train and his elves would help him pass out candy canes and season’s greetings.
When coming to Chicago with your family, I would recommend taking one ride. It is definitely worth it! According to the CTA, the holiday train operates from about 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on select weekdays and will be running through the rest of December as part of regular rail service. Normal CTA fares apply.

Happy holidays, and I hope to see you on the train!


Hampton to host charitable event this evening

Today, Thursday September 20th, 2012, the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Young Professionals Advisory Board will host an event at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.  The event titled “engAge,” is a fundraising event benefiting Chicagoland Seniors. The mission of the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is to provide services and companionship for the Elderly that may not have close social connections, i.e. family or friends, due to death or distance.

A silent raffle, along with refreshments and music will be enjoyed by all patrons this evening. If you would like to learn more about the event, please click here. engAge is open to people 21+ years of age.

We hope to see you at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown! The event will be on the 2nd floor in the Daniel Burnham Room. 100% of the proceeds go directly to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.


Happy Hour at the Terrace at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown

Thursday, August 4th marked the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown’s very first Happy Hour Event at the Terrace, located on the 2nd floor.

Guests from Mesirow Financial enjoyed an urban, summer setting complete with a backdrop of exposed brick walls, tropical Bird of Paradise floral arrangements-compliments of Daniel’s Floral (, the sounds of summer music, plus food and beverage to boot.

An Aerial View of the Terrace

Catering was provided by Big Delicious Planet ( and consisted of a Mediterranean display of olives, meats, cheeses and vegetables, some favorites South of the Border and beef sliders. White Wine and Stella Artois were the crowd favorites for beverage selection.

The Terrace recently received new outdoor furniture from Classique Innovations , a vendor at nearby Merchandise Mart.

Classique Innovations Outdoor Furniture


If you are in the market to host a reception or  event at the Terrace, please contact the Sales Department at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown by calling 312-832-0330. Cheers!