THIS MUST BE THE PLACE - JAZZzology's Jazz Music Venue Of The Month-April 2010
Time to get the word out on Chicagoland's best kept live jazz secret "This Must Be The Place", a live music venue, restaurant and music studio located in Lemont, Illinois which offers casual dining and fine music... I happened to stop by there on a Sunday to check out a rumor that there was actually live jazz featured weekly in Lemont! Yup. Couldn't believe it...but there it was! Every Sunday the co-owners Dan Farnesi and Bill Moffett offer live jazz billed as the "Sunday Night Big Band \ Jazz Concert Series". They feature some of the best talent around such as The Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Chico Smorgallees Jazz Ensemble, Stardust Big Band and more great players that are slated to grace their stage for the special 6pm Sunday shows.
The owners are big music fans of all kinds of music (and considering their attention to musical space details, to my surprise I discovered they are not musicians), just take a look at their music calendar. They are especially wanting to showcase bands and musicians that perform original music, not just cover bands. Wow. Unheard of nowadays.
Located in the historic district of Lemont, Illinois across from the train station at 206 Main Street, one walks in to the first of three rooms which is a very comfortable upscale space complete with brick, brass and oak appointments that warmly greet you along with one of the friendly owners...on the west wall is a well-stocked bar which offers a large variety of booze and beers (both imported and domestic), including, get this, $2.00 DRAFT PINTS of beer (Pabst Blue Ribbon) for those on a budget! Jeez...I've got to add "The Place" to my BEERzology blog as a should-be-a-regular-hang. One can see the owners take great pride in the food they serve. I sampled some home-style roast beef which tasted just like Mom used to make. Their approach is to serve you as if you were coming to their house and that they really want to impress you. From great steaks, prime rib and seafood to mouth-watering Signature Sandwiches inlcuding Reubens, Strombolis, and Chicken Bruschetta, Dan and Bill are sure you will love every bite. They even have a fish fry every Friday which is "All-You-Can-Eat" beer-battered cod and fresh house-made chips. The whole restaurant has a seating capacity of close to 500 people.
The front room or north end space, as I call it, is great for those that want to have a view out the large window while they partake of the menu and quench their thirst and don't mind the hub of activity in the bar area where Bill was doing the bartending. The next space towards the middle of the building has seating for those that want to be able to converse while eating without having to talk over the live music and yet don't want to be near the bar area. The third room towards the very south end of the building is where the stage is, complete with great sound and lighting systems featuring a specially acousticized ceiling for the live music. The walls of "The Place" are adorned throughout with the classic art of great LP album covers, many helping to recall the music of my younger years. You will notice much of Bill Moffett's handi-work as the masonry throughout was built by him. It definitely adds to the casual upscale ambiance of the spaces and reinforces the notion that...dare I say it..."This Must Be The Place"!
The other "way cool" thing about "The Place" is that they have a music studio upstairs for musicians and music students to use and in addition they offer private music lessons for anyone wishing to learn guitar, piano, banjo, bass, voice, mandolin, brass, woodwinds drums & percussion, sound engineering, recording and more. As a flyer of theirs suggests, "Where else can you go from classroom to the stage all under one roof?"
Dan showed me around "The Place" and if the owners of this live music and eats venue don't already offer enough, they even hope to someday have an outdoor beer garden, as I was shown the future space located just outside the music studio area. Their website betheplace.com seems to say it best when it comes to the nature of the music venue they offer the public, "You can count on us to provide high quality entertainment. From rock and blues, to folk and jazz, Open Mic night, dueling pianos, and some comedy for good measure we hope you will enjoy the entertainment we provide." I know I did. Definitely, "This Must Be The Place" for a great time.
Here is a short clip of Jazz Live from "This Must Be The Place" in Lemont, IL: