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First Look - Tribute, Opening Today

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 7, 2011 3:00PM

Tribute, the long-awaited (and long-suffering) South Loop restaurant in the Essex Inn finally opens today for business. After chef drama, a delayed opening and some minor licensing drama, they started serving breakfast today at 6 A.M. We visited last night for a first look, and we're cautiously optimistic.

The space is very pretty, and takes full advantage of the huge windows facing Michigan avenue. While the dining room is not particularly distinctive (and we're worried the fireplace near the hostess stand may catch some menus on fire) the lounge area promises to become one of our favorite spots for early-evening people watching. There are a few interesting touches to the decor, most notably the over-hyped filmstrip-laden chandeliers, covered in frames from the Disney animated classic Alice in Wonderland. Despite the fact that we've gotten tired of hearing about them in every press release, we have to admit that they are pretty cool.

As far as the food and drinks go, we reserve comment. We didn't get a chance to taste very much last night, but we look forward to trying more of the menu. You'll hear more in the coming weeks, as we get a chance to visit as a customer. If you stop in, let us know your thoughts.

Tribute is located at 800 S. Michigan Ave.