Haute Secrets: Monika Dixon, Owner of MDPR


If there’s anyone who knows the ins and outs of what Chicago has to offer, it’s Monika Dixon. While she’s only been in the city for 12 years, she’s owned her eponymous public relations and communications firm since 2012, which has given her up close and personal access to some of the city’s most influential lifestyle brands, business owners, restaurants, and philanthropies. Here, we put her insider perspective to good use with our Haute Secrets Q&A.

Where Were You Born: I was born in a small, but very scenic town in Poland called Chodziez.

How Long Have you Been in Chicago: I moved to Chicago in 2005

Neighborhood: Old Town.

Occupation: I am the founder of Monika Dixon Public Relations – a boutique lifestyle pr firm + communications agency.

Favorite Restaurant: This is such a difficult question! I love trying new places and have a different favorite every week! But if I had to narrow it down, I would say La Sirena.

Best Sushi: Naoki Sushi!

Best Italian: Monteverde and Macello

Best Dessert: I love the Buttercake at Mastros and the Slutty cheesecake at Sugar Hills Bakery! Just thinking about these two desserts have me nearly drooling!

Best Place for a Romantic Date: Oh boy… well, the most romantic dates I go on are to Buffalo Wild Wings with my kiddos! But I would have to say Roister or Avec. They are both such lively and energetic places, which takes off a bit of the ‘date’ jitters! Plus the menus are phenomenal!

Best Sunday Brunch: I definitely have a few faves here! Mortar & Pestle, Willow Room, DOVE’S LUNCHEONETTE, Bad Hunter, and in the summer I like to brunch at Blanchard Chicago for the al fresco seating.

Best place for a power business meeting: The Ikram Cafe! It’s quiet, intimate and serves farm-to-table, organic meals with simple, tasty preparations. It is located on the second floor of the Ikram store and not that many people are aware of its existence. Which makes it perfect for private lunch meetings! Across the bridge, in the Loop, I like having my meetings at Toni Patisserie because it transports you to a quaint cafe in Paris. They play soothing sounds of french jazz and it is safe to say that they have mastered the art of the crepe.


If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? The Langham Hotel, hands down every time! It’s my favorite property with lots of natural light, delightful staff and well balanced room service menu.

Favorite Shopping Venue/Boutique: I absolutely adore FELT and Soñador Boutique. They are both independently owned by strong and intelligent women who truly pay attention to curating a collection of original brands. For my kids, I shop online at Lola + The Boys, which is a Chicago-based children’s brand. Supporting local business, especially in retail, is something that is very important to me.

Favorite Place to Buy Jewelry/Watches: Dana Rebecca and Meredith Marks for jewelry and Patek Philippe or Hermes for watches.

Best Spa: I have a hidden gem for reflexology called Relax Feet, which I cannot live without! I try to visit them at least every other week. It helps reduce my stress levels (which are always high!) and I feel so peaceful afterwards. From the outside it looks a little sketchy, but trust me, they know what they are doing! For serious medical skin problems or any sort of laser work I go to BeautifyatAMS – please ask for Edith, she is the best! For facials my favorite is Chicago’s skin guru Leah of Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique.

Favorite Charity Event: Chicago Children’s Choir “Paint the Town Red” performance at the Pritzker Pavilion and their annual fundraiser the Red Jacket Optional.

Favorite Cultural Event: I enjoy events that incorporate fashion or food for a great cause. I recently attended FENDI runway presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art benefitting A Better Chicago. It was a well tailored event. Thank you Grace Sergio for the invitation!

Favorite Cultural Institution: Chicago Children’s Choir and Chicago Scholars Foundation

Best Steakhouse: I don’t eat steak, but I like the vibe at Swift and Sons.

Best Pizza: I don’t eat pizza often but I enjoy thin crust, European style pizza. Parlor is always a good choice! The energy in that place is infectious!

Best Lunch: My favorite is still RL Ralph Lauren restaurant their Crab Louis is what I usually order and there is a lot of charm in their American classic and sophisticated setting.

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Precision Human Performance – they understand the science behind each exercise and play cool music!

Best Massage: Outside of Relax Feet :) I like the spa at Soho House. I usually book the Cowshed Moody Massage.

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Uber

Best Museum/Exhibit: I love art and recently I have been more into graffiti and street art vs. set exhibits with that said, I regularly visit independent galleries and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Describe your City in Three Words: Vibrant, bustling, and charming

Favorite Historic/Legendary Place to See or Explore: Every time I visit the Chicago Cultural Center I find a new design element or stumble upon a new room that I have not seen yet and just stare at it in awe for way too long.

All-Around Favorite Spot in Chicago: I love the beach! I live close to North Avenue beach and everything about it makes me happy! From waiting for the sun to rise to sunset walks, playing in the sand, chasing after the birds and playing volleyball is all I ever want to do!

Best Aspect of Chicago: The people! Chicagoans are kind, caring and welcoming! I feel that the city reflects the good in humanity! Be good to this city, support its initiatives, love art, love food, good cocktails and conversation and the good life will be awaiting you!