Previewing the Food at Lollapalooza 2012
In Chicago, the beginning of August means one thing: Lollapalooza is this weekend! Lollapalooza is one of those events where there’s a pronounced "It’s a Great Day to Be Alive!" vibe in the air. During the course of the days, this vibe perpetuates exponentially — everybody has extra pep in their steps and wide smiles on their faces. Personal problems and concerns temporarily fade away as one cannot help but revel in the Right Here, Right Now.
Held in Grant Park, the festival is situated with a view of Lake Michigan on one side as the city skyline looms on the other. When it starts to get dark, the smell of good herbs wafts through the air as the city of Chicago lights up with the crowd.
While Lollapalooza is first and foremost a music festival (click here for the lineup), I have a confession to make: I’m equally — if not more — excited for the food. Unlike most major events where you get gouged with crappy burgers, hot dogs, and fries once you’re inside, Lollapalooza brings in some of Chicago’s best restaurants to serve their signature dishes at comparatively reasonable prices.
From the lobster corn dog from Grahamwich to the grilled-cheese-stuffed pretzel from Goose Island to the organic mushrooms from River Valley Kitchens, there’s lots of gluttony to be done once you get inside those gates.
Here’s an extensive guide to the food that will be served at Lollapalooza this weekend. (Full disclosure: I left off places that I couldn’t reach and couldn’t easily deduce what they would be serving.)
Grahamwich — Serving lobster corn dogs and truffle popcorn.
"In the past, some restaurants have presented food that wasn’t music-festival-crowd friendly. This year, [Grahamwich restaurateur Graham] Elliot again recommends to newcomers they do what they do best, but still keep it simple and make it accessible to the masses. 'Our first year we did Buffalo chicken with beer bubbles and blue cheese and sold five of them,' he said. 'But then you deep-fry lobster on a stick and you sell 15,000.'"
The Australian Truffle — I, uh, guess they’re serving truffles?
Via Lollapalooza Chow Town:
"Chef Brunacci will be behind the stove at the Australian Truffle booth, guaranteed to be one of the most aromatic booths in this year’s lineup… Frank and his wife Lillian are importers of some of the most expensive subterranean fungus in the world. These Australian truffles in particular are Perigord, the famous black truffle, and they come from the largest Trufferie in the Southern Hemisphere, The Wine and Truffle Co in Manjimup, Western Australia."
Bacino’s — Serving, amongst other slices, stuffed spinach pizza:
BJ’s Market and Bakery — Serving sweet potato fries, chicken tenders, peach cobbler, and mustard fried catfish (pictured below).
Burrito Beach — Presumably serving the South Park incarnation of Jennifer Lopez’s favorite dishes: tacos y burritos.
Chubby Wieners — Serving veggie hot dogs, signature fries and cheese fries, and the Chubby Dog, a quarter-pound hot dog custom-made for Chubby Wieners by Vienna Beef.
Do-Rite Donuts — My phone call went unanswered but is there any chance that the people behind this beautiful box would let you down when you need them the most?
Edzo’s Burger Shop — With ethically raised beef from Flagel Farm that will continue to be ground daily despite high festival volume, Edzo’s is serving up classic cheeseburgers and fries as well as a "Wisconsin" burger topped w/ Merkt’s Cheddar, "ketchupeño," grilled onions, bacon, and pickled banana peppers and truffle fries topped with white truffle salt and Parmesan cheese.