The Thrill of the Chase

Anton's, the first of the restaurants to open in the newly rehabbed Chase Park Plaza, delivers moderately priced luxury

We ducked in for lunch at Anton's, the first of the new restaurants in the renovation of the Chase (now again known as the Chase-Park Plaza), and we quickly fell in love with the place all over again for about the fourth or fifth time. On the way in, we saw a sign announcing the upcoming debut of the Chase Grand Café and Bar, a project of PBJ (the corporate entity behind Yia Yia's) destined to be an upscale destination on close to the same financial par as the Tenderloin Room, which remains open over toward the Park Plaza side of the building.

(Full disclosure: I was the hired-gun "spokesman" for the Park Plaza when it was renovated in the late 1980s. Even though I made money off the deal, I was madly in love with the ziggurat beauty even back then, and I've always secretly lusted for one of the terraced two-story apartments that now rent for something above three G's. )

Anyway, Anton's is basically a throwback to the all-day light-meal restaurants in luxury hotels (the Chase does have rooms by the night again, but room service is also available to the apartments). Full breakfast is served until 11 a.m., and after that the basic menu comprises upscale soups, salads and sammies. I noshed on a fine Oriental chicken-breast salad, with fresh greens and garden veggies, rice noodles and peanut-sesame dressing; my only regret was that the newly renovated pool, which the dining area and adjoining outdoor patio overlook, was not quite open yet. The food is moderately priced, but the accompanying selection of wines is obviously for those who can afford Chase and Park Plaza rents, ranging as it does from $24-$48 for full bottles (with one $18 Castle Rock Chardonnay ringer thrown in).

The space will be a joy for those who love old buildings, requiring a long walk down the arcade for those entering from the Kingshighway side (and an even more enjoyable romp through the nascent selection of upscale retail shops when entering from Maryland Plaza). Although you can just walk in off the street from Lindell, you'll miss some of the best stuff. Even if you do this, however, the gold paint and cherry woods of Anton's airy two-story space do seem to recall the days when Sinatra and others hung out at the Chase whenever they came through these parts. It's also a fine shortstop on your way in or out of the cinemas.

ANTON'S, 212 N. Kingshighway at Lindell, 314-633-3200. Salads, soups and sandwiches: $3.75-$7.75. Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.

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