Pop-up restaurant inspired by "Elf" coming to Westin in Itasca

  • Starting Friday, Nov. 26, Westin's Seared Restaurant in Itasca will be designed to mirror the theme of the movie "Elf," which starred Will Ferrell.

    Starting Friday, Nov. 26, Westin's Seared Restaurant in Itasca will be designed to mirror the theme of the movie "Elf," which starred Will Ferrell. File photo

Updated 11/10/2021 1:33 PM
This story has been updated to reflect that Chris Johnson came up with the idea for the event.

A modern Christmas movie classic is being celebrated with a monthlong dining event in Itasca.

The Westin Chicago Northwest is introducing a new holiday dinner party event, the "Buddy The Elf Pop-Up Christmas Experience."


Starting Friday, Nov. 26, and ending Thursday, Dec. 23, Westin's Seared Restaurant in the first floor lobby area of the hotel will be designed to mirror the theme of the 2003 Christmas film starring Will Ferrell.

The feature grew out of a brainstorming idea by general manager Chris Johnson, who is a fan of the movie. Johnson wanted to incorporate the movie into a holiday event, making participants feel as if they're walking onto a movie set.

Rick Marsh, Westin Chicago Northwest's director of sales and marketing, said that the experience is a great way to create a fun program while also hosting a gala that helps the Humanitarian Service Project charity in Carol Stream.

"People don't throw Christmas galas the way they used to," Marsh said. "I think with all the stress that people have been having, wouldn't it be nice to have something a little bit more fun these days?"

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According to Marsh, the plan is to sell tickets on a large-group basis for 30 to 50 people at first, then possibly make the experience available for smaller groups or couples, depending on how many events are booked throughout its run.

Booked events will run for two to three hours. The cost will be $50 per person for lunch and $100 per person for dinner. Dining tickets booked with rooms will have 50% of the room rental fees go to charity.

Marsh said that the event will incorporate as many props and references to the movie as possible, right down to the food menu. Entrees include salmon, lamb with mint glaze and rib-eye with candied yams and brown sugar carrots. Dessert will be a large bowl of ice cream with chocolate Pop Tarts, M&Ms, candy, candy corn and candy canes.

The dessert candy, candy corn, syrup and candy canes references the main "food groups" according to Buddy, Ferrell's character in the movie.


The event will feature a recreation of Walter Hobbs' apartment and the Gimbles mall from the film and will include a SELFIE station for group photos.

"We are thrilled to welcome Buddy The Elf Pop-Up Christmas Experience!" said Heather Larson, President & CEO of Meet Chicago Northwest, in a statement. "The Westin's Christmas creativity will be the perfect addition to the holiday season in Chicago Northwest."

Those wishing to participate can go to https://elfpopupchicago.carrd.co/ to sign up their party for the event.

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