State and Lake

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Though the name of this Loop restaurant is pretty unimaginative, there's no way you'll have trouble remembering the location: It's at the intersection of State and Lake Streets. It's also on the ground floor of boutique hotel The Wit. State and Lake is the primary breakfast, lunch and dinner spot for the trendy hotel (also home to Cibo Matto and Roof) and serves a mostly American menu focusing on artisanal ingredients. The day starts with the usual breakfast fare plus some fun surprises like Guinness pancakes, while lunch brings panini (grilled veggie with brie, short rib with giardiniera and provolone, smoked turkey with jalapeno-smoked bacon) salads and a couple of entrees. The evening menu includes plenty of beer-friendly options appropriate for sharing or snacking at the 17-seat bar (savory beignets with smoked prosciutto and stravecchio cheese, whipped brandade with toasted pinenuts and currants) and entrees such as roasted salmon and crispy chicken thighs. The dining room, designed by the Johnson Studio (the same firm that designed Tru) has far less of a hotel restaurant feel than you might expect. Cork floors, leather walls, plush banquettes and warm chocolate hues dominate the room, while the bar, made from antiqued wood, provides an inviting focal point.