Meet a Mom: Meet Restaurateur Cecilia Lanyon! | Chicago North Shore Moms

Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new CNSM spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law.

When Cecilia Lanyon sets out to accomplish a goal, you better believe it happens. In 2016 Cecilia married her two favorite things into one realized dream; the love of fine cuisine and fabulous local art created The Gallery Lake Forest, a fine dining establishment with dishes rooted in the very art that they feature in the adjacent gallery space. Don’t you just love creative concepts?! From there, The Peanut Gallery was born to accommodate demand for dining with children. And most recently Lake Forest is proud to welcome Cecilia’s third baby, CREAM Bake Shop. So what’s one to do with all of these great food options? A food and wine festival in Lake Forest, of course! Join us in getting to know more about Cecilia Lanyon in this week’s Chicago North Shore Moms, Meet a Mom edition.

Hi Cecilia! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?

Hi! My name is Cecilia Lanyon, I am originally from Lake Forest and I currently live in Lake Forest. I lived in San Francisco after graduating high school and moved back to Lake Forest in 2012 to open my first business, also in Lake Forest.

You’re a mama! Tell us about your children.

I have one daughter, Andrea – she is two years old



What are one or two fun facts to know about you?

  1. I am from a family of 5
  2. I love horror movies


What are your favorite North Shore and/or Chicago places and spaces to frequent?

The barn steakhouse in Evanston is my favorite go-to for a special dinner, we love to frequent Lake forest Library and any and all of the Lake forest parks- especially Lake Forest beach.


As a mom to a toddler and small business owner, what gets you through a tough day?

Coffee!! Always! And then a run or bike ride if possible- good Music is a must- to help you take a beat and re-set


You are the owner of a three fantastic restaurants in Lake Forest. Tell us about all of them.

Thank you! First we have The Gallery – which is a gallery and restaurant. We have rotating art exhibits and the menu is informed by the Artwork on Display. This will be our 7th year in January, our new exhibit opens October 10, 2023. (IG: @thegallerylf)


Banana cheesecake dessert from the gallery

The Peanut Gallery is entering its 4th year! The Peanut Gallery features burgers, chicken sandwiches and chocolate shoppe ice cream (my fav ice cream). We opened the Peanut Gallery because a lot of our clientele at The Gallery joked they did not bring their kids for date night. So we opened a restaurant for the kids! (IG: @thepeanutgallerylf)


Fried chicken sandwich from peanut gallery

Most recently we started CREAM bake shop, which is a virtual bakery with cakes, cookies and specialty treats. We have a lot of these items available daily at The Peanut Gallery, and we have a lot of fun holiday bake shop items coming up! We also host baking classes and demos! (IG: @creambakeshoplf)

Last but not least, we have launched REVELRY Food and Wine Festival Lake Forest this year, which will be an annual food and wine festival in Lake Forest. It’s going on this coming weekend, September 29 through October 1, 2023. Please join us! You can learn more on the Instagram page as well: @revelryfoodandwine


Patio @ The Gallery

How did you get involved in being a restaurateur? What did you do prior to opening restaurants.

I fell in love with a chef (my husband), prior to opening restaurants i worked in them as a bartender. I opened my first business in 2012 called Re-invent, which was a fine art gallery and artist studio space, and served as the executive director for The DeerPath Art League. I love business and creative concepts. The Gallery was a hybrid of my husband and my two loves: Art and Food. Once we opened our first business together, we wanted to keep growing and building our business into multiple facets.


Now the million dollar question – how do you do it all? How are you balancing motherhood with being a very busy small business owner?

I try and lay each week day by day- when I am At work- I am 100% focused on tasks at hand with lots of lists and prioritizing by importance and necessity. I have a set number of hours each week available to finish my work, which helps motivate me to be as productive as possible within that set of hours. This also helps me to be emotionally present when I am at home.


Do you have any events coming up that you’d like us to know about?

Yes! REVELRY FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL is next week! It is hosted by myself, my husband, Dominic, and our friend Chef Beau MacMillan. It is three days with three events. We have chefs, mixologists and musicians all coming out for this weekend long party! I’m excited about the Whiskey, Wu-Tang & Wagyu Burger Battle that we are hosting on Sunday, October 1. Nine local chefs are competing for the title of “Best Burger.” Troy Johnson is the host and one of the judges. Follow us on Instagram to keep up with the latest information: @revelryfoodandwine


What’s next for you?

Revelry Food and Wine is this coming weekend, as soon as it’s over we start planning and booking talent for next year’s festival. We’re always imagining ways to evolve our existing businesses and build new ones. We have a few concepts in the works for 2024!


Is there anything else you’d like us to know about yourself or your business?

The gallery is always looking for new artists to exhibit, if you are interested in showing your work- please reach out! I love collaborating with other female entrepreneurs and business owners. I am so inspired by seeing all of the hard working women in this community!

About our Meet of Mom Sponsor

A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].

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