Conceptually, the Grand Lux Cafe is nothing more than a Cheesecake Factory with a sprig of parsley perched atop its faux-Venetian exterior, but it's that extra sprig of parsley that makes the entire experience feel all the classier. While the Grand Lux's added class is nice, though (and I still enjoyed my time there), it doesn't completely annul the problems that the restaurant faces.
Upon entering the Grand Lux Cafe, you are enveloped by a whirlwind of orange, yellow, and dark red that gives a casual (yet still somewhat refined) sensibility to the entire restaurant. It's not entirely convincing, but hey- I'm willing to put aside my critiques if it means I can enjoy a good, solid meal. Clara and I were seated in a circular room overlooking Michigan Avenue, lined with artwork of a decidedly modest style. The view was nice, the ambiance was welcoming, and our waitress was eager to help.
As I'm familiar with both the Grand Lux and Cheesecake Factory menus, I decided to order one of my favorite standbys: chicken enchiladas (boring, I know, but hey- they're good). Clara, more adventurously, ordered the restaurant's DeLux Breakfast Sandwich, which promised all the protein-rich fixings of a home-style breakfast (and then some) sandwiched between two slices of brioche. Both dishes were, as expected, above average, and were perfect fuel for the day ahead.
Don't get me wrong, I love this restaurant, it does what is advertised. The Grand Lux Cafe is a consistently adequate, fairly classy restaurant. Like a workhorse in a tuxedo, it gets the job done while still maintaining a refined sensibility, accessible to even the most unexperienced of tenderfoots in the world of fine dining.