December 1, 2015

Meghan Risch

Choose Chicago, the official tourism organization for Chicago and producer of Chicago Restaurant Week, announced today that ticket sales are now open for First Bites Bash, the official kick-off event for the ninth annual Chicago Restaurant Week.  Tony Priolo, Executive Chef/Partner of Piccolo Sogno and Piccolo Sogno Due will host the highly-anticipated annual event on Thursday, January 21 at Union Station.  A portion of the proceeds generated by ticket sales will benefit the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.

"First Bites Bash has grown to be among one of Chicago's most coveted culinary events," said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO.  "First Bites Bash offers a unique opportunity to celebrate Chicago's food scene, engage with some of Chicago's greatest culinary teams, and most importantly, support an incredible organization dedicated to raising critical funds for continued childhood cancer research."

This year's event features even more sweet and savory tastings. More than 60 restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week will be on-site to preview tasting portions from their respective Restaurant Week menus.  Guests can toast to the Chicago area's culinary scene with tastings from Goose Island Beer Company, Terlato Wines International, as well as spirit/cocktail pairings from various spirit partners.  Tickets are available for purchase at for $125 per person.   

Growing up, Priolo's dream was either to become a professional baseball player or a chef.  Ultimately he chose the latter to honor his grandmother's passion for food.  His style of simply prepared Italian food caught the attention of diners nearly 20 years ago and he hasn't let up since.  Priolo, an award-winning chef and passionate advocate for Chicago's tourism industry, dedicates his time and talent to several local charities, including the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.  

The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation was founded by Chicago Cubs First Baseman Anthony Rizzo who realized during his own battle with cancer that no matter how difficult fighting cancer was for him, it was even more difficult for his family.  The Foundation's mission is to raise money for cancer research and to provide support to children and their families battling the disease.

Priolo believes the world needs more people like Rizzo.

"Not only is Anthony a great athlete - he's an incredibly kind and devoted man," said Priolo.  "I've witnessed first-hand how Anthony continues to give back to the community, not only raising money to help children battling cancer, but also visiting them in the hospital.  Chicago is fortunate to be the recipient of his talent and compassion."

First-time participants at First Bites Bash include: A Tavola; Appellation; Bar Siena; Bull & Bear; Chop; Cindy's; Cochon Volant; Current; The Grill on the Alley; Intro; Ixcateco Grill; Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab; Kinmont; Labriola Chicago; Oyster on Halsted; Remington's; RoSal's; Smoked on Rose; Tanta; Vermilion; Miss Ricky's, and The Windsor.  The complete list of First Bites Bash participants is available at

Chicago Restaurant Week offers locals and visitors 14 days to experience Chicago's diverse culinary talent.  Beginning January 22, more than 360 restaurants will feature prix fixe lunches for $22 and dinners for $33 and $44, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.  Chicago Restaurant Week officially ends on February 4.  Online reservations will be available beginning early January at

First Bites Bash is sponsored by: 100.3fm WSHE; 101.9fm THE MIX; American Airlines; American Express; Goose Island Beer Company; Michigan Avenue Magazine; NBC5 Chicago; OpenTable; Terlato Wines International, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

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About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor destination leveraging the city's unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit Follow @ChooseChicago on Twitter.  Like us on Facebook.  Follow the conversation on Twitter with #FirstBites and #CRW.