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Taking over the ground floor of the landmark Tribune Tower, restaurateur Chris Pastena taps into the ethos of a creative, can-do city on the rise. The Tavern’s interior is a virtual showcase for local craftsmen and artists, and the menu is spiked with made-in-house foods, from bread to pasta to charcuterie. The shepherd’s pie was well executed, hiding a comforting stew of minced lamb, braised beef, and fresh peas beneath a cap of airy mashed potatoes. The surprisingly light grilled ox tongue was another winner, while the Merguez sausage packed an intense, savory flavor nicely balanced by citrus-braced sautéed mustard greens. But the meat-centric gastro pub fare can be uneven. A house burger was overly seasoned and the fried chicken bland. Luckily, the fun, casual vibe is on point. And the inventive cocktails are a must. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily.
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