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Music Mon Jun 23 2014
Let's start with a basic premise...The fun part about going to Ravinia in the summertime is definitely bringing a gourmet picnic and sitting out on the lawn under the stars. It's about hauling your blanket and some camping chairs on the Metra and sharing food and drink with all of your friends.
So, how do you upgrade the experience of Ravinia and make it more like glamping than camping? Enter the new Lawncierge service by Celebrity X Cruises.
Starting with the basic premise of Ravinia--the picnic--and upgrading it by adding a high-end bar, "molecular" cocktails, gourmet fare, a tent and wicker couches, Lawncierge aims to improve upon the fun of Ravinia by adding an element of luxury to the experience. With a multi-coursed tasting menu and glamorous surroundings, Lawncierge aimed to amp up the outdoor festival. Press invitation in hand, we trekked up the Edens in our Zipcar with high hopes.
Sadly, our experience fell a bit short. Our waiters--think North Shore teens home from college with a summer job that they hated--were scattered about the pacing of the meal--something that you might expect them to get right at an expensive $250 a person. They seemed downright surly when we placed drink orders with them. The food was just OK--nothing to write home about except for that it was ample. And the sound quality for the concert part of the evening seemed almost forgotten. You couldn't really hear the music, which is the main reason for attending Ravinia. My guest and I had a better sonic experience when we wandered out of the VIP tent and stood on the sidewalk that loops through the park.
I think with some improvements: e.g. strategically placing the tent closer to the stage; better training for the staff; perhaps some live video and audio feed; and better food, Lawncierge could be a fancy and fun experience for the bottle-service set. The concept is solid, but the devil's in the details. Like some newly-opened restaurants, Lawncerige isn't quite there yet.
If you're looking for me at Ravinia in the meantime, I'll be saving a spot on the lawn and serving up some of my famous black bean salad and white wine sangria.