Are you ready for a punk rock pop-up? Riot Fest, Chicago’s beloved rock and alternative music festival that has been going strong since 2005, has teamed up with the creators of the immensely popular Saved by the Max pop-up restaurant to serve up its own Riot Feast.
The menu and aesthetic of Riot Feast are full of winks and nods to the festival, giving you a multi-sensory taste of the Riot Fest experience. Greeted by a host in a ticket booth, you are immediately immersed in a kooky carnival sideshow. A walk down a corridor of grass will take you to the dining room, made to feel like you’re seated under one of those iconic striped circus tents. A fortune-telling machine and a screen showing the black-and-white movie Freaks, the inspiration for American Horror Story: Freak Show, are the kind of details that heighten the fun of the pop-up.
Equally entertaining and delicious is the Riot Feast menu. Chef Brian Fisher of Entente returns following Saved by the Max with a new menu full of punk rock puns and band references. The party kicks off with boozy concoctions such as the Bad Religin and the Bucky Done Daiquiri. Dishes deliver on taste as well as cleverness. The C.R.E.A.M. (Curds Rule Everything Around Me) are perfectly fried cheese curds in a Tecate and pretzel batter. The aromatic Thai flavors of Broccolus Urungus will have even the most avid broccoli hater throwing up the devil horns. The Hot Dog in a Hallway captures the carnival spirit with a superior sausage from The Radler, a popular German beer hall.
Of course, there is also a tribute to Riot Fest’s longstanding obsession with John Stamos. The festival has tried for years to woo the Full House heartthrob to attend, ideally with a revival of his character’s band, Jesse and the Rippers. While the pleas have thus far gone unanswered, Riot Fest is unwavering in its devotion. The Have Mercy! Cornbread is the Riot Feast love letter to Stamos, a sweet and spicy starter accompanied with butter stamped with Uncle Jesse’s face.
Diners can enjoy the Riot Feast menu in multiple ways. GA tickets will get you a seat at their communal table and an eight-course meal served family-style among your party. Those who prefer their own space can bump their ticket to VIP status and get an individual table. Alternately, the Nosh Pit bar menu is available for a la carte ordering and includes a holdover from Saved by the Max: the popular Bayside Burger.
Riot Fest is happening this weekend, but hungry punks can get a seat at the Riot Feast through the end of September. Tickets can be found on its website, though walk-ins are welcome. Eat well and party hard!