Gene Harris’ Epicure Room

Menu Club Alabam’s Epicure Room.

In the late 1950s, proprietor Gene Harris focused on fine dining at the Club Alabam, launching his Epicure Room.

Terry Hunter reviewed the dining experience for the Chicago Sun-Times and opened by stating that nightclubs and good food didn’t always go together. In the case of Gene Harris’ restaurant, however, the name Epicure was no misnomer.

Skillful Maître d’ Jules Reiser prepared an outstanding tableside salad. Breast of chicken, served in a delicious Madeira sauce, was paired with Virginia ham “Eugenie.” Portions were generous. A plate full of Canadian walleye was big enough for two diners. The salad was “a work of art” and dessert, a Vesuvius, was ice cream topped with flaming cherry sauce, seated in dry ice, and steamed like a volcano. Dinner prices ranged from $4.50 to $6.50. The Epicure Room sat fifty patrons. Restaurant reviewer Terry Hunter advised reservations.


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The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.