For many people, catching a show during Ravinia’s summer season is all about setting up blankets and tables, spreading out a picnic with wine and cheese, and hanging out with friends on the lawn while taking in a night of great music. But for many more, the Ravinia experience includes visiting one of the handful of restaurants onsite. With the 2018 concert season, which features a different act nearly every night through September 16, Executive Chef Michael Tsonton is introducing what he calls “micro-seasonal” dining, highlighting locally sourced ingredients on a continually fresh menu, keeping in line with the musical bills.
Even more exciting, Chef Tsonton will do this all with some brand-new concepts within the rejuvenated Dining Pavilion. On the ground floor, the new Lawn Bar and its two full bars will also serve small plates and entrées, and the Ravinia Market will feature five hot stations with different cuisines, as well as grab-and-go food and drinks. And the second floor is now home to both reservation-driven restaurants: the new Tree Top and its outdoor, covered Porch will offer a micro-seasonal prix-fixe menu in serve-yourself style, and the popular Park View will feature a refreshed menu. Ravinia Magazine spoke with Chef Tsonton about the new spaces, what makes him excited and his approach to seasonal cooking.