Wednesday, April 14

Chicago’s Steakhouse – Hartwell, Ga

Sharif Farhan, restauranteur, had a vision. “Hartwell needed a nice place with quality food,” says Farhan. He had been listening to his customers and putting some thoughts to the idea. Already the owner of the successful Downtown Cafe on Depot Street in Hartwell, he began searching for the right place. Former Main Street and Downtown Development Director, Henley Cleery, knew the perfect building, a former Umbrella factory across the street from the Cafe. After purchasing the building in late 2017, Farhan began working the design out in his mind. 

There are essentially 4 sections to the building. The corner, where the restaurant has opened, the middle where a stage was already in place, opens this spring and an end building with a rollup door that is currently used for storage. The 4th section is the outdoor seating currently under construction in conjunction with the City of Hartwell’s rework of the utility and street work on Depot street. The open air seating should be ready in time for the late Spring, early Summer season. 

Farhan is no stranger to restaurant work. It is the family business. Farhan grew up in Chicago working in steakhouses featuring the famed Chicago stockyard aged beef. In 1997, Farhan moved to Greenville with his brother and opened his first cafe in Anderson. In 1998, he had discovered Hartwell and opened Downton Cafe. With 6 children, 4 boys and 2 girls, Farhan had a ready supply of family to help out. Son Chris is the manager and Zaid, the head chef. 

The design of the building that formed in his thoughts manifested in the building so well that the seating fit perfectly where he had sketched out the lights for the electrician. Each light dropped exactly in the center of each table. Earth tones of grey and browns help bring a cozy and elegant feel to the restaurant that seats 96 currently. With the opening of the center part of the building, another 180 seats with a stage will add dinner theater and live music to the offerings. Another 30 outdoor seats will fill out the restaurant. 

With fresh seafood and dry-aged steaks from Chicago, the restaurant has been virtually reservation only since opening its doors. My favorites include the tenderloin, Arctic char and great hamburgers; but, my absolute favorite is the calamari with the asian sauce! 

Come experience the excitement in Downtown Hartwell. Chicago Steakhouse is open Tuesday – Sunday. Check out for complete menus and upcoming events.

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