Seventy-three restaurants, more than a third of them first-time participants, will make up the food lineup at the 38th Taste of Chicago, which will take place July 11-15 in Grant Park.
At an announcement party headlined by mayor Rahm Emanuel (who chatted about food with “Sandwich King” Jeff Mauro), the city revealed this summer’s restaurant lineup, which includes some notable newcomers, beloved veterans and restaurants returning after long absences.
The returnees are Original Rainbow Cone, a longtime Taste veteran that sat out the past three years; and Buona Beef, back at Taste of Chicago for the first time since 2009.
Among this year’s new participants are two James Beard Foundation Award winners: Arun Sampanthavivat, who won a regional Best Chef award in 2000, will have his eponymous restaurant at Taste for all five days; Sun Wah Barbecue Restaurant, a recipient of a JBF America’s Classic restaurant award this year, will be one of 22 pop-up vendors (which serve at Taste for one to three days).
Returning veterans include Eli’s Cheesecake, the only restaurant to have participated in Taste of Chicago every year; and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, which has participated in every Taste except the first one.
Of the 14 food trucks that will be at Taste of Chicago, three are new: CheSa’s Gluten Free Food Truck, Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp, and Sausagefest. Returning trucks include Beavers Coffee + Donuts, Da Lobsta, Harold’s Chicken and The Fat Shallot.
For those seeking a luxury Taste experience (which sounds contradictory), this summer will feature a new Taste Oasis, an air-conditioned lounge with music, private cash bar and passed “Taste bites.” One-day passes to the Taste Oasis will cost $50.
For a full list of participating restaurants and food trucks, go to tasteofchicago.us.
Last year’s Taste drew 1.6 million visitors, its biggest crowd since the festival adopted the current five-day format (down from 10 days in previous years) in 2012.