“After 22 years as a city-run event space, the legendary interior that once housed Maxim’s de Paris restaurant inside the Gold Coast’s Astor Tower will be revived as a private neighborhood-centered social club.
“The City Council Wednesday approved the $680,000 sale of the former restaurant to a couple who lives in the tower. The city owned the restaurant’s space since 2000, when it was gifted by the family of famed architect Bertrand Goldberg. The club sits beneath a spray of lightbulbs and down an ornate spiral staircase tucked into the bottom of the Goldberg-designed tower at 1300 N. Astor St.
“Down the staircase is a series of lush rooms clad with organic shapes and curving lines, served among a backdrop of mirrors, wood trim and burgundy walls. Maxim’s de Paris, the first franchise of the famed 19th century French restaurant, was known for its Art Nouveau interior and high end gastronomy. It was designed by Bertrand Goldberg and owned and operated by his wife, Nancy Florsheim Goldberg.
“Bertrand Goldberg’s work has helped define Chicago’s architectural identity, with the iconic ‘corn-cobs’ of Marina City being among the most widely recognized Chicago buildings in the world. His innovative designs for hospitals like Prentice Women’s Hospital, demolished in 2014, organized patient rooms into clusters, allowing doctors and nurses to better distribute care, while residential projects like the Hillard Towers Apartments provided Chicago Housing Authority tenants a place to live with dignity.
“Maxim’s de Paris served French haute cuisine and fine wines to an audience of food lovers, politicians and celebrities from 1963 to 1983. That included Eartha Kitt, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. Its twenty-year run introduced Chicago to the art of classical French cooking and gave the city its first discothèque.
“Its new owners, Astor Tower residents Adam and Victoria Bilter, will reopen it as the Astor Club, a private social club. ‘It’s nice to see how much people love Maxim’s’ said Victoria Bilter. ‘We’ve heard from a lot of neighbors who thought this would make a great private club.’
“‘We are interested in historic places in the Gold Coast, so we did some research,’ said Adam. ‘We loved the Art Nouveau of Maxim’s when we saw the place, which is kind of our style, but we also loved that the building is so modern.’
“‘Despite their inclusion in a landmark district, Astor Tower and, more specifically, Maxim’s de Paris are deemed non-contributing, which means they have no protection against alteration or demolition,’ said Max Chavez, Director of Research and Special Projects at Preservation Chicago. ‘It is dangerous to assume that without landmark status, Maxim’s legendary interiors will remain as-is forever.'” (Blasius, Block Club Chicago, 1/26/22)
Read the full story at Block Club Chicago
Former Maxim’s De Paris In Bertrand Goldberg’s Astor Tower Set To Become Private Club; Maxim’s de Paris served French haute cuisine and fine wines to an audience of food lovers, politicians and celebrities from 1963 to 1983, Elizabeth Blasius, Block Club Chicago, 1/26/22
Gold Coast space that once housed Maxim’s Restaurant gets new lease on life; The City Council’s Housing Committee agreed to sell the city-owned space and its companion parking area to local resident Adam Bilter and his 24 E. Goethe LLC for an appraised value of $680,000, Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, 1/18/22