For many shoppers who visit the area around Water Tower Place, many will hit Foodlife, since it's fairly quick and has a lot of choices. But directly across the hall - in a former shoe department - Lettuce Entertain you has now installed a modern grab-and-go -- or stay-and-sit -- that has something for everyone.
The salad bar alone could keep you occupied all day, and probably satisfy anyone's particular cravings, no matter how finicky. It's the centerpiece of a new fast-casual concept at Water Tower Place called Foodease, and if it looks familiar, that's because it sits in the space that used to house the ladies shoe department at Lord & Taylor.
"Foodease is a market with restaurant-quality food, prepared to go. Something for everybody and every meal part," said GM Marc Jacobs.
Adjacent to this massive cold bar, is a hot one, overloaded with the familiar - baked macaroni, stuffed peppers - but also some of the highlights from various Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, like the tomatoes from Joe's Stone Crab, or Di Pescara's hot and crunchy tilapia.
"We feature local and seasonal vegetables and fruit in the cold part, as well as healthful dining options.And then in the hot and prepared salad part we're showcasing favorite lettuce restaurants," said Jacobs.
But wait! There's more! Pre-made salads, made-to-order sandwiches.. a frozen section with ice cream and deep dish.. a soup station with at least four options and a sushi bar with maki to-go. Plus, a mini-deli section with terrific egg salad and chicken salad, as well as heat-and-eat meals like spinach and feta-stuffed chicken or maple glazed salmon. Pick up a bottle of wine from the impressive little cellar, and finally, a little something sweet from the Chocolate Closet, which features some hard-to-find brands from all over the country.
"I think it gives people the opportunity to custom their own meal program. Whether in the morning they want to grab something from the bakery and a cup of coffee or at lunch they want to take something off the bar, or dinner...get something from the deli counter. Or have a glass of wine at the wine bar," Jacobs said.
Foodease is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Water Tower Place
835 N. Michigan Ave.