At Parrot Cage, voted a top brunch spot by OpenTable users, servers whisk seared seafood, succulent meats, and contemporary American cuisine to white-draped tables amid an elegant atmosphere, where lush décor pays homage to the historic building's past life as the grandiose South Shore Country Club. The restaurant was created by the Washburne Culinary Institute, as a place where seasoned chefs tutor pupils in every aspect of running a restaurant. Beyond the restaurant's teaching element, press features agree that Parrot Cage Restaurant is top notch. Centerstage called the dishes "precise and deliberate," and a Chicago Reader reviewer praised the "superb view of the lake" and confessed that with "friendly and prompt" service, he "couldn't tell which staffers were students."
The restaurant's name, tropical green hue, and 100-year-old Victorian parrot cage honor the vibrant feathered creatures of Hyde Park and South Shore. Servers speculate that Chicago's first such birds escaped from an owner's cage, an exhibit at the 1893 World's Columbian Expedition, or an unsatisfying romance with a street pigeon.