Haute Secrets: Maureen Smithe Of Walter E. Smithe Shares Her Chicago Favorites

Maureen smithe

If Maureen Smithe’s name doesn’t ring a bell, her great-grandfather’s certainly will. Smithe, along with her three sisters, make up the fourth generation progeny of famed Chicago-furniture mogul (and catchy-jingle purveyor) Walter E. Smithe; together they help helm the 11-location business in capacities ranging from design to advertising. Maureen, a buyer, has been with the company the longest, returning to Chicago and the family business in 2004 after spending time as a merchandiser at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Today, after living in Lakeview, Gold Coast, and Streeterville, Maureen (along with her six children) now calls Old Town home. Here, she shares her favorite spots in the city, from where to get “dependable, old school” Italian food, to the one activity that’s guaranteed to please every member of her brood.

Where were you born: Chicago

How long in Chicago: 13 years

Neighborhood: Old Town by way of Lakeview, Gold Coast and Streeterville

Occupation:  Buyer for Walter E Smithe Furniture + Design.

Favorite Restaurant:  Publican for a fun night out, Tank Noodle for a quick casual bite.

Best Sushi: Momotaro

Best Italian: Club Lago – the food is dependable and the atmosphere is classic old-school Chicago.

Best dessert: Anything from Sweet Mandy B’s.

Best place for a romantic date:  Sparrow for drinks.

Best Sunday brunch:  Fieldhouse Jones

Best place for a power business meeting:  The view from NoMI certainly inspires creative and productive conversations.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?  The Peninsula

Favorite shopping venue/boutique:  I love walking Wells St and popping into local shops and restaurants along the way.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches:  The only jewelry I wear or care about are the wedding and engagement rings my husband bought somewhere on Jewelers Row twelve years ago.

Best Spa:  Exhale

Favorite Charity Event: I work with Old Town’s St. Joseph Parish refugee committee and the year-round work we do is meaningful and so important.

Favorite Cultural Event: Chicago Marathon Sunday  – I love how the whole city comes together to cheer on and encourage complete strangers.

Favorite Cultural Institution:  The Chicago Park District – the people and programs are so awesome.

Best Steakhouse:  Swift & Sons

Best Pizza: Piece

Best Lunch:  Café Marie-Jeanne

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: My husband and I are regulars at FFC Lincoln Park/River North Crossfit/Shred 415

Best Massage: My kids give pretty good back scratches!

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Uber

Best Museum/Exhibit:  With six kids we really appreciate the Chicago Children’s Museum – my three year old loses his mind when they have the Hot Wheels exhibit!

Describe your city in three words:  Big and Small

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: I am so grateful for Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. My kids and I will go out for “Urban Adventure” days where we jump on the el and take it to a new part of town. The whole world is right here in our city!

All-around favorite spot in Chicago: Mary Bartleme Park on a sunny summer day with my kids.

Best Aspect of Chicago: Lake Michigan. I love that the shoreline belongs to the whole city.