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North Avenue Beach bringing back renovated Castaways Beach Club for summer

Renovated Castaways Beach Club reopening at North Avenue Beach
Renovated Castaways Beach Club reopening at North Avenue Beach 03:57

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After a major renovation and a name change, Castaways Beach Club, the boat-shaped restaurant and beach house at North Avenue Beach, is reopening for the summer this Memorial Day weekend.

Chicago's beaches reopened on Friday for the unofficial start of summer, but with storms approaching, it was unclear whether swimming would be allowed.

Meantime, with the return of summer on the lakefront comes a new twist on the popular Castaways, which will celebrate a soft reopening on Friday and a full reopening on Saturday. 

The popular beachfront spot was closed last summer for renovations.

The new restaurant and club features a menu inspired by beach fare from around the world, including ceviche, hummus, shrimp, lobster rolls, fish tacos, and more. This is in addition to Castaways' more familiar fare of hot dogs and burgers.

The top deck of Castaways has a full-service dining area on the south end and a beach club on the north, with a full-service bar, lounging areas, and a stage for live music, DJs, or bands, depending on the day of the week.

"Definitely a fresh look. Everything's new as far as tiles, two brand new bars, and then the cabanas," said Stefani Restaurant Group partner Anthony Stefani.

Renovated Castaways Beach Club brings fresh new vibe and menu 03:23

The lower level features a milkshake bar and quick bites, like burgers, hot dogs, and tacos. The lower level also will have picnic tables and a designated bar area.

The ship-shaped building was dedicated in 2000, replacing an earlier and nearly identical structure that dated back to 1940 – but was demolished due to deterioration.

Of course, the main attraction is North Avenue Beach itself, with its long stretch of sandy beach and view of the Chicago skyline.

"Your setting's going to be the top seller. That's what people are going to come for. There's no better place," Stefani said.

Lifeguards will be on duty along the lakefront from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week through Labor Day weekend.

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