Ravinia. That perennial summer favorite for Chicago concert lovers. Tickets have gone on sale and there are 140 events scheduled for Ravinia this summer featuring acts as varied as Loverboy, Alison Kraus, 50 Cent, Tony Bennett and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. One short train ride to Highland Park leads to an evening under the stars listening to music, usually on the lawn with a bottle or two of wine and a picnic basket full of treats.
In the event concertgoers don’t feel like schlepping dinner to the park, Ravinia, Executive Chef Michael Tsonton and Levy Restaurants have two brand new dining options opening this summer: Lawn Bar and Tree Top.
Located on the ground floor, Lawn Bar offers two full-service bars, one indoors and one outdoors. Lawn Bar serves small plates, focusing on casual comfort foods with Asian influences. The new menu offers Bar Bites, Sandwiches, Vegetables, Just Mine (items not easily shared), Happy to Share, and Sweets. At the hardhat media preview, these items were served along with a beautiful tiki drink:
- Lawn Bar mix: spicy, salty mixed nuts and pretzels
- Housemade potato chips: dill pickle seasoned, served with French onion dip
- Slow roasted beets with cumin-smoked paprika and goat cheese aioli
- Korean short rib skewers grilled with BBQ bulgogi
During most Pavilion concerts, the Lawn Bar is open from park opening time until last call (usually an hour before the posted concert end time). During the CSO/Dance concerts, the Lawn Bar is open from park opening time until concert intermission. Walk-ins are welcome at Lawn Bar, as no reservations are accepted at this restaurant.
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Tree Top restaurant is located on the second floor, up among the trees. It also has both indoor and outdoor dining space overlooking the park. The Tree Top restaurant is Ravinia’s “elevated Chef’s Table concept serving global cuisine from seasonal produce, locally sourced.” The price is fixed at Tree Top and the menu is frequently themed to the day’s concert. A sample of the menu includes:
- Antipasti: hummus, roasted baby multi-color carrots, grilled spring asparagus, picked peppadew peppers, charred broccolini, roasted green cauliflower, garlic and olive oil braised red peppers, sliced assorted charcuterie
- “France”: early spring ratatouille, barigoule of spring vegetables, Lyonnaise lentils du Puy, mussels with herb vinaigrette & piment d’espelette, salade nicoise with spring marigole petals, roast leg of lamb, creamed spring lettuce with peas, parmesan & pernod, pommes dauphinois gratin
- Dessert: mini blueberry clafoutis, Corsican lemon mousse tartlets, strawberry-rhubarb crumble, mini chocolate mousse, assorted dessert bars, assorted cookies
During most Pavilion concerts, Tree Top is open from park opening time until one hour after the start of the concert that night. During the CSO/Dance concerts, Tree Top is open from park opening time until the start of the concert that night. Walk-ins are welcome at Tree Top but reservations are recommended.
Ravinia also continues to offer French-inspired dishes at their seasonal summer restaurant, Park View. Providing grab-and-go food and drink is Ravinia Market, which includes these hot food stations: 847 Burger, Sabrosa Taqueria, Pressed Paninis & Sides, Smoke House 1904 and Pizza Classico.
Ravinia Festival, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL 847-432-7550