Hinsdale restaurant with a split personality

Downtown Hinsdale certainly has its share of restaurants and adorable boutiques. But there's only one option for both; it's called Embrace, and it offers two distinctive experiences.

If you're in the mood for a lively dinner, a casual lunch or just a little shopping, Embrace has it all. It is housed in a historic theater that's been lovingly restored.

"We're a hybrid, kind of a fusion concept with retail and restaurant. We are in the historic, old Hinsdale theater. Renovated it 1920s, kept pretty much everything, the original balconies, the original brick, sort of added to the decor with some special little pieces," said Lynette Lovelace, Embrace.

On the food side, lighter appetites can nibble on an artisan cheese flight with assorted fruits and berries or a solid Caesar salad with romaine and a parmesan tuille.

At lunch, the ladies like a champagne-poached Atlantic salmon, which arrives with standard baby vegetables, but rests in a cucumber-lemongrass consomme.

Lovelace says the room has a different vibe during the day.

"You know, pretty much a totally different concept day by night. We do you know, kind of lights down, candles, live music Thursday nights and Saturday nights during the week... uh, yes, business but ladies crowd you know, during lunch, and then totally different element, beast in the evening," said Lovelace.

Other significant menu options include a truffled pappardelle Bolognese, which contains tri-colored pasta in a fresh ragu of ground tenderloin, wild mushrooms and red wine. Tilapia is stuffed with artichoke hearts, crab and pecans and arrives plated over a wild mushroom risotto.

For dessert, nothing too out-of-the-box: a decadent chocolate lava cake and some refreshing rose petal sorbet are two safe options.

After the meal, diners can easily stroll through the adjacent boutique, containing all sorts of unique finds, including jewelry, clothing and lots of beauty products. It gives everyone, men included, a chance to do some browsing, as well as eating.

"Little emporium. Everything; home interiors, clothing, jewelry, men's, baby, little bit of everything. Something for everybody," said Lovelace.

The restaurant is a rarity for downtown Hinsdale. Embrace is open late for dinner, on weekdays until 10:30 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, until midnight.


29 E. First Street, Hinsdale


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