It's always mystified us that the Chicago restaurant most associated with romance is Geja's Cafe, the nearly 50-year-old fondue spot in Lincoln Park. Melted cheese and chocolate, pots of bubbling oil— what's the big link between fondue and friskiness? Part of it, of course, is that Geja's tells everyone there's a romantic aspect to fondue, and especially this time of year, they work it hard with imaginative promotions, as you saw in our Valentine's roundup the other day. But David Hammond in the Sun-Times went beyond idle musing and... took his wife there. And talked to Geja's manager, who explained the fondue-romance dynamic.
Kirby Matthews, Geja’s general manager, told us his restaurant is either “the best place for a first date or the worst. It’s the best because,” as Matthews explains, “we get the food out there quickly and you’re doing something, you’re preparing the food, so there are no awkward silences.”...
“But then they go somewhere else to eat,” explains Matthews, “and it’s not the same. They discover there was never any chemistry. It was just the fondue!”
Hammond also offered another clue to us at a dinner the other night which future restaurant designers might want to consider if they want to be around as long as Geja's: "The ceiling is low, which makes it feel intimate. It makes you realize how many new restaurants are enormous, which isn't very romantic." [Sun-Times]