Recently, The Godfrey, a boutique hotel in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, opened its doors. Located on the hotel’s fourth floor is I|O Urban Roofscape, a 15,000 square foot indoor/outdoor lounge and event space. Water features, a video wall, and a retractable roof are some of its features, in addition to a fire pit and gorgeous skyline views. On weekdays, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, and on weekends, brunch and dinner. Because it is open until 3 a.m. on Saturday nights, and until 2 a.m. on all others, it has also become a new nightlife hot spot. Be warned, however, that noise ordinances are in effect, causing the outdoor spaces to close early, and everyone forced inside, thus losing the appeal of going to a rooftop on a gorgeous evening – a hard lesson just recently learned.
Instead, I recommend visiting I|O Urban Roofscape during the day or early evening, and especially on the weekend for brunch, as I recently did with two of my wonderful blogger friends, Brittany of The F Bombs, and Tiffany of Style Sidebar. We had a perfect table outside with wonderful city views. A number of large parties were seated around us, including a surprise Birthday party. It is definitely the perfect spot for a group of friends or a wedding or baby shower.
I|O offers a Champagne “RIOT” Brunch on the weekends for $30, per person. The RIOT Brunch includes a mimosa or bloody mary, and the choice of three small plates. I began with the strawberry thyme mimosa, and it was refreshing, flavorful, and not too sweet.
For my three small plates, I opted for the summertime Greek yogurt parfait, the adult smoked salmon, and the huevos rancheros. Food is delivered as prepared, and the Greek yogurt parfait arrived first. The creamy yogurt was layered with house made granola and a refreshing citrus granita, and nicely presented in a glass. It was a light, cool, and refreshing way to start the meal on a hot day.
Next came the adult smoked salmon, so called as the salmon is cured with bourbon and gin. It was served on a toasted mini bagel and topped with crispy capers, with small dabs of creme fraiche on the side. It smelled wonderful and I enjoyed the interesting taste of the cured smoked salmon. However, the bagel had a strange texture – almost cracker-like with a bit of a doughy consistency. The bagel definitely left room for improvement.
I finished my meal with the delicious huevos rancheros – two chili poached eggs, served with gringo salsa, guacamole, crispy tortilla strips, and micro cilantro. This dish was my favorite. The eggs were perfectly cooked, the salsa had just enough spice, and overall, it was extremely flavorful.
Other standout dishes included the fresh seasonal fruit salad that Tiffany ordered, which was topped with liquid nitrogen frozen fruity pebble milk, as well as the biscuit & gravy chosen by Brittany, which featured a single housemade biscuit with wagyu gravy, and fine herb oil.
Overall, I was quite impressed with brunch at I|O, especially for a new hotel restaurant that could rest on the laurels of its outdoor patio and views. The service was good and attentive and the ambiance relaxing. I will definitely return for brunch or an after work cocktail, but not again on a weekend night until the hype wears down and bar service improves.
127 West Huron, Chicago, IL 60654