Like attaching a fake mustache to a Halloween mask or cleverly changing your name from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Ben Kenobi, adding a new ingredient to a familiar dish can render it unrecognizable. Discover what a difference a taste makes with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of contemporary cuisine and drinks at The Department in Joliet.
High ceilings and an exposed-brick interior create an attractive, loft-like space in which The Department's chefs craft a lunch and dinner menu of creative, eclectic fare. Synchronize your taste buds with the grilled shrimp bruschetta tossed in garlic-wine sauce and served with focaccia crostinis ($9) or a steaming bowl of cheesy chicken-tortilla soup ($4) before attacking a platter of slow-roasted prime rib ($28 for 15 oz.). Otherwise, bury hunger alive with hearty helpings of shrimp pasta tossed with red peppers and mushrooms in a creamy feta garlic sauce ($18.50). Frazzled office workers, meanwhile, can escape the offices tedious meetings and deadly stapler duels for a lunch of southwest chicken wraps stuffed with black-bean salsa ($9), and caribbean shrimp salad ($9). An aged beef-tenderloin sandwich topped with caramelized onions and portobello mushrooms ($12) or a black-and-blue burger crowned with gorgonzola and spices ($9) keeps one hand open for impromptu cliff-dangling.
Named in honor of local police and firefighters, The Department adorns its 100-year-old building with the tools of the trade, such as self-twirling batons and foam-dome fire helmets for putting out fires at baseball games. Live music on Friday nights adds to the lively atmosphere. On Saturday, revelers can sidle up to the lengthy bar and knock back a couple of signature cocktails such as the Fire Hydrant (pomegranate vodka, Pama liquor, and orange juice; $8) or the Big Smoke (orange rum, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and 7-Up; $8) before setting up their own gyration station in front of the live DJ.
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