In Tribute

Short Ribs and Cocktails at Grant Park

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Picture the dining scene this weekend at Grant Park:

The well-heeled crowds. The seared veal sweetbreads. The precisely measured small-batch bourbon cocktails.

Okay, so maybe all you’re seeing is sweaty people eating turkey legs—possibly while wearing garbage bag rain ponchos.

So picture this instead: Grant Park on Thursday... and a little to the left.

Coming into view: Tribute, the cornerstone of a quickly renovating Essex Inn, offering a front-row seat to summer in Chicago and accepting reservations now.

Enter through the Essex lobby—but don’t look down. The soon-to-be-updated carpet is a relic of that infamous palm tree era in hotel carpeting. Besides, by the time you reach Tribute’s glass doors, your mind will be consumed by more important matters. Mainly, drinking a spiced-rum Tattooed Stranger in a sleek, narrow lounge with stunning floor-to-ceiling park views.

But at heart, this place is ready for whatever you throw at it:

A dinner party of seared duck, pork belly and short ribs... under a chandelier made from wine barrels and vintage celluloid strips of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. No problem. Clandestine afternoon rendezvous spent in a snug circular booth eating oyster po’boys and drinking rosé from a tap. Naturally. Morning business confabs of hanger steaks and eggs held under lighting made from nuclear-blast-resistant glass.

We’ll take them at their word.

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