Sixteen (Chicago restaurant)

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20090310 Wine Racks at Sixteen.jpg
Wine racks at Sixteen (2009)
Hotel location along the Chicago River
Restaurant information
Established February 2008
Head chef Thomas Lents
Food type American cuisine
Street address 401 N. Wabash Ave.
City Chicago
State Illinois
Postal code/ZIP 60611
Country United States
Website Official website

Sixteen is a restaurant on the sixteenth floor of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois. It is one of three food and dining options in the hotel's room service offering.[1] Sixteen opened in early February 2008,[2] and an adjoining outdoor patio terrace, named The Terrace at Trump, opened on June 25, 2009 following the completion of the hotel's construction.[3]

The restaurant and its terrace are known for their views of the city. The eastward view includes Lake Michigan, Chicago River, and the Wrigley Building clock tower. During the summer, the view includes the seasonal semi-weekly fireworks displays over the lake from Navy Pier. The restaurant holds a four-star rating, according to the Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide).


Main dining room and its chandelier


Sixteen was designed by Joe Valerio, whose previous credits included the Garmin flagship store on the Magnificent Mile.[2] Valerio's design had to work within spacial constraints determined by the tower's architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, leaving him to deal with complications stemming from a variety of column shapes — some square, some round, and others rectangular. He was also obligated to incorporate the skyscraper's aluminum window frames and a garage for window washing equipment, which uses floor space overlooking the Chicago River.[2] Sixteen opened in February 2008, a few weeks after the lower floors of the Hotel had a partial opening, even though construction on the building had not been completed.[2]

Architectural detail[edit]

Sixteen has been described architecturally as a sequence of spaces that do not reveal themselves at once, but rather in "procession".[4] The restaurant's foyer is T-shaped, and a passageway to the hotel is lined with floor-to-ceiling architectural bronze wine racks in opposing red and white wine rooms.[2][5][6] The passageway leads to views—praised by Chicago Tribune Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin—that showcase the Wrigley Building clock tower and the Tribune Tower's flying buttresses. Kamin notes that these views are "more intimate" than the panoramic ones of the Signature Room, a restaurant near the top of the 100-story John Hancock Center.[2] The views are described as equally impressive by day and by night.[6] The main part of the procession is the Tower Room, a dining room with a 30-foot (9.1 m) dome-shaped ceiling made of West African wood. The dome is furnished with Swarovski chandeliers[7][8] and incorporates mirrors so that all diners can experience the view.[4] The restaurant has two other dining rooms, named for their views: the Bridge Room and the River Room.[9]


Thomas Lents was appointed executive chef of Sixteen in January 2012. Chef Lents began his career as executive sous chef of Chicago's four-star restaurant Everest, under the direction of Chefs Jean Joho and Thierry Tritsch. After a five-year tenure, he moved to Dublin, Ireland, where he worked as a sous chef at the Michelin two star-rated Thornton's Restaurant. During his time abroad, Chef Lents staged in acclaimed kitchens, including the Michelin three star-rated Waterside Inn in Bray and Le Manoir Aux Quatres Saisons in Great Milton. Upon returning to the United States in 2007, Lents worked at the Michelin three star-rated, five-diamond Joel Rubochon at The Mansion inside MGM Grand Las Vegas, where he was quickly promoted from sous chef to executive sous chef. In 2008, he moved north to San Francisco to take the chef de cuisine position at the Michelin-rated Quince Restaurant, before Chef Joël Robuchon offered him the opportunity to be the first American to serve as chef de cuisine of his namesake restaurant. Lents holds an advanced placement culinary art degree from the New England Culinary Institute, where he studied under founding Chef Michel LeBorgne, as well as a B.A. in philosophy from Wabash College in Indiana.[10][11]

Previously Sixteen was led by Executive Chef Frank Brunacci who had worked in two AAA Five Diamond establishments, Diamond Victor's at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, Louisiana and The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia, and also at restaurants in London and Australia.[6] In addition to using European techniques, he relies on spices from North Africa and India.[6] The cuisine, decor and architecture have all drawn impressive reviews.[7][12][13] Food is available à la carte or in tasting services.[14]

Critical review[edit]

Image of clock tower and another building tower from the terrace of a tall building
Wrigley Building clock tower and Tribune Tower from The Terrace at Trump

Fodor's praised the food as a "unique fusion of European and Asian flavors".[15] According the critic from Time Out Chicago, the restaurant is more of a place to impress clients and dates than a top–notch dining experience with top-notch cuisine due to its association with Donald Trump and its views.[8] The magazine's annual Eating & Drinking guide describes the dining room as stately and impressive, the staff as attentive and professional and the food as well-presented.[16] Kamin remarks that although some of the comments that he received by e-mail are not as supportive of the entire structure as they are of the restaurant, the restaurant provides an opportunity for people to emulate Guy de Maupassant, who is said to have disliked the Eiffel Tower so much that he ate at the tower's restaurant daily so as not to have to look at its iron monstrosity.[2] According to the Forbes Travel Guide: 2010 City Guide: Chicago, the hotel hosted one of the seven four-star restaurants in Chicago, which had two five-star restaurants.[17] Three years later, according to the Forbes Travel Guide: 2013 City Guide the restaurant was one of only three five-star restaurants in Chicago. The food is "Meticulously crafted American cuisine crafted with seasonal ingredients is presented seamlessly by a polished waitstaff."[18]

The restaurant has been described as expensive, and one critic partly attributes the prices to Sixteen's status as a hotel restaurant.[6] However, others feel the prices are appropriate for the ambiance created by the interior design, architecture, views, and association with Trump.[8] According to Vettel, the prices are respectable given the overall experience.[13] Sixteen has a bar that Kamin complains has limited views, but that Chicago Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel says was pleasant.[2][13]

Related venues[edit]

View of a tall building at a bend in the river.
The Terrace at Trump is located adjacent to Sixteen on the first setback of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago.
late night fireworks beyond a river at night
Navy Pier's fireworks over Lake Michigan beyond the Chicago River and the Michigan Avenue and Link Bridges from The Terrace at Trump

In addition to Sixteen and the traditional hotel room service dining option, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago provides two other food & dining options for its guests.[1]

The Terrace at Trump[edit]

The Terrace, whose June 25, 2009 opening was reported on Reuters,[19] has views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan as well as Navy Pier's seasonal Wednesday and Saturday evening fireworks and was designed for al fresco dining.[20] It is located adjacent to Sixteen on the first setback of the tower,[2] and it was part of a larger 2009 movement to supply al fresco dining options to the Chicago marketplace.[21] The view also features a close-up of the Wrigley Building's clock tower.[22] Although it offers a menu of appetizers and entrees, it is said to focus on serving drinks,[20] and Time Out Chicago describes it as a posh playground for consuming cocktails.[22] The Chicago Sun-Times praises its views and ranks it as the number one al fresco dining venue in Chicago.[23] It is open daily afternoons and evenings, weather permitting.[24]


Located on the mezzanine level, the hotel bar named Rebar bar opened on April 18, 2008.[25] It touts itself as a "Liquid Kitchen" due to its use of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables.[26][27] Two weeks after its opening, it was selected by David Himmel, a contributing editor to RedEye from Metromix, as the best new bar to take a date to. Himmel described Rebar as "sleek" and spoke highly of its eastward Chicago River views.[28] The bar was named after the 50,000 short tons (45,000 t) of reinforcing steel bars, called rebar, that support the hotel.[25][29] Another Metromix contributing editor spoke highly of the views and described it as a hotel bar with a cozy feel. Rebar has both a main bar and a standing room only bar.[25] One member of the WMAQ-TV Street Team commended it for its signature cocktails and sushi,[30] while another gave kudos for the design and the stainless steel swizzle sticks that the bar calls "stirs".[25][29] Rebar is equipped with a 25-person VIP room overlooking the lobby.[25][29] The Zagat: Chicago Restaurants 2009/10 review of Sixteen mentioned that Rebar hosts Champagne tastings on Wednesdays.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Food & Wine". Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kamin, Blair (2008-03-01). "Our architecture critic evaluates Trump's new restaurant: By design: Sweet Sixteen dining". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  3. ^ "The Terrace at Trump Opens June 25, 2009". PR Newswire. 2009-06-16. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  4. ^ a b Slavid, Ruth (2008-03-03). "Architecture critic attempts to eat dinner, but is distracted by giant dome". Architects Journal. Emap. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  5. ^ "Sixteen". Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Shames, Lisa (July 2008). "A Supersweet Sixteen: At Trump's sky-high eatery, the views are only rivaled by the food". Chicago Social. p. 204. 
  7. ^ a b Vettel, Phil (2008-04-10). "Review: Sixteen: Bold and luxe, Trump restaurant lives up to the hype". Metromix. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  8. ^ a b c Shouse, Heather (2008-03-13-2008-03-19). "Restaurant review: Sixteen: Trump's Chicago debut finds a niche, but a tiny, tony one.". Time Out Chicago. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-10.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ "Trump This!". Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  10. ^ Olvera, Jennifer (2012-01-19). "Thomas Lents Talks About New Position at Sixteen". Zagat. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  11. ^ Bendersky, Ari. "Sixteen Skyrockets Under Thomas Lents". Michigan Avenue. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  12. ^ "Sixteen soars with city's finest". Crain's Chicago Business (Crain's Communication, Inc.). 2007-03-31. 
  13. ^ a b c Vettel, Phil (2008-04-10). "Bold and luxe, Sixteen lives up to Trump hype". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  14. ^ a b Wilkins, Donna Marino (ed.). "Sixteen". Zagat: Chicago Restaurants 2009/10. Zagat Surveys, LLC. 
  15. ^ "This Week: New York, Chicago, Cape Town, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Liverpool". Fodor's. Fodor's Travel. 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  16. ^ Shouse, p. 47
  17. ^ Forbes Travel Guide: 2010 City Guide: Chicago, p. 4
  18. ^ "Forbes Travel Guide 2013 Star Award Winners". Archived from the original on 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  19. ^ "The Terrace at Trump Opens June 25, 2009". Reuters. 2009-06-16. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  20. ^ a b "The Terrace at Trump". Metromix. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  21. ^ Vettel, Phil (2009-06-11). "Supper in the sky – The hottest dining spots are up on the roof". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  22. ^ a b "Restaurants & Bars: The Terrace at Trump". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  23. ^ "3 Things we love about Al Fresco Dining". Chicago Sun-Times. 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  24. ^ "The Terrace at Trump". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  25. ^ a b c d e Budell, Karen (2008-04-23). "Send In The Reinforcements – Can this new hotel lounge Trump your standard night out?". RedEye. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  26. ^ "Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago: Cocktails, Liquid Kitchen" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  27. ^ Preston, Sarah (February 2008). "Working for the Man—and the Woman". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  28. ^ Himmel, David (2008-04-30). "Meet me in the lobby – Chicago's hot new hotel bars aren't just for tourists". RedEye. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  29. ^ a b c Holland, Liz (2008-04-23). "Now Open: Rebar". NBC5 Street Team. NBC5. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  30. ^ Riley, Marcus (2008-05-04). "Word On The Street: May 2, 2008". NBC5 Street Team. NBC5. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 


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