The Taste of Chicago is one of the biggest festivals of the year, taking place July 9 through July 13, and not surprisingly it can be a tad overwhelming. Here's a handy guide on how to navigate the foodie fray and what to be hungry for.
Taste of Chicago Restaurants
This year, the Taste is divvying its purveyors into a few different categories: five-day restaurants, pop-up restaurants, and food trucks. The five-day spots are there every day, featuring a lineup of 66 restaurants from all over the city, spanning a wide spectrum of cuisines and dining styles. Bobak Sausage Co. provides a nice taste of encased meats, something Chicago has a reputation for. Here, expect Maxwell Street Polish sausages with grilled onions along with bacon on a stick and grilled drumstix.
Chicago's Dog House is a new entrant this year, serving up exotic dogs such as smoked alligator sausages and infused cheddar-bacon sausages. For something more eclectic, Uptown's Iyanze brings the African flavor with oxtails and jollof rice, while Kasia's Deli has pierogi and chicken kebabs with curried rice.
In burger news, M Burger and SpritzBurger are both newcomers this year. The former will be slinging Americana-style cheeseburgers and cheese fries, while the latter will have more offbeat creations like poutine burgers and "chocolate burgers."
Barbecue is made for festival eating, and you can't do any better than The Smoke Daddy, armed with an arsenal of pulled chicken sandwiches, ribs, pulled pork, and cornbread. For sweets, Original Rainbow Cone is a perpetual classic, featuring their famous stacked ice creams and rainbow sherbets.
In addition to the stable of daily restaurants, the Taste will rotate a roster of pop-up restaurants each day. This year, the cadre is almost entirely new, featuring everything from French bistro fare from Brasserie by LM and Mexican seafood by Veneno de Nayarit to decadent doughnuts from Stan's Donuts & Coffee and sushi via Kamehachi.
And that's not all. Save room to swing by a food truck, all of which will be parked in Butler Field and on South Columbus Avenue during the Taste. Each day features several distinct food trucks from all over the city, including Bridgeport Pasty, Chicago Cupcake, Harold's Chicken, and Caribbean-inspired Jerk.
The Taste of Chicago takes place in Grant Park at Jackson and Columbus from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. July 9 through July 11, and from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. July 12 and 13. Tickets can be purchased here.
Photos: Chicago's Dog House, Kamehachi, Bridgeport Pasty