My great-grandfather opened the Berghoff Café in 1898, and we continue today to offer a truly unique dining experience in the heart of Chicago’s Loop.   The Café was built as a means for great-grandfather to serve his beer and satisfy customers’ appetites for food and drink, expanded due to Prohibition and continues to represent Chicago today in iconic Berghoff style.  This past April, we converted our lower-level East Room (part of the Berghoff Café) into a rotating art gallery.  The transformation of this historic space is an opportunity to showcase local artists and honor the rich culture of Chicago’s past, present and future.

Not long ago, I found myself at a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization that is near and dear to my heart; After School Matters.  Started by former Chicago first lady, Maggie Daley, After School Matters offers Chicago high school teens innovative out-of-school activities in arts, science, spots, technology and communication.  Thus my inspiration for turning a portion of our Café (that is so much a part of Chicago) into a showcase for local Chicago artists and artwork, in an effort to benefit After School Matters and our city’s future.  Our first and current Chicago Artist is Jonathon Michael Johnson, who teaches a darkroom photography class through After School Matters.  His Chicago themed photography is displayed throughout our East Room, and profits from our Gallery Opening this past April (filled with supporters, students and classic Berghoff drinks and h’ordeurves) directly benefited After School Matters.

“The work of Chicago’s artists is our city’s tapestry” (Richard M. Daley).  And so my hope is that through the work of select artists, visitors of the Berghoff Café can celebrate the beauty and movement of our great city through the artists’ eyes.  Thank you to all who have helped transform our historical space and cheers to the rich culture of Chicago’s past, present, and future.