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Taste Of Chicago Kicks Off In Grant Park

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People entering the main gate for the first day of the Taste of Chicago (Credit: Steve Miller)

People entering the main gate for the first day of the Taste of Chicago (Credit: Steve Miller)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The 33rd annual Taste of Chicago got off to a hot and muggy start on Wednesday, but city officials were hoping some new attractions would help the summer festival become profitable again.

For the first time, food trucks that set up shop on city streets will hunker down in Grant Park to showcase their vittles for people attending concerts at the Taste.

The trucks will be parked near the Petrillo Music Shell, and will sell food starting an hour before each day’s concert, and continue serving throughout the shows. Customers will pay for the food truck fare with regular Taste of Chicago tickets.

A total of 13 food trucks will be at the Taste, and will alternate spots during the festival. Up to seven trucks will operate each evening, from Wednesday through Sunday.


Here’s the list of Petrillo concerts and the food trucks for each show:

Wednesday, fun.
• Bombay Wraps
• Taquero Fusion
• Giordano’s
• The Fat Shallot
• Jerk. Modern Jamaican Grill
• Royal Cupcakes and Bakes
• Beavers Coffee and Donuts

Thursday, Robin Thicke
• Taquero Fusion
• Giordano’s
• Pork Chop
• The Fat Shallot
• Cheesies
• Royal Cupcakes and Bakes
• Beavers Coffee and Donuts

Friday, Robert Plant presents the Sensational Space Shifters
• Bombay Wraps
• The Salsa Truck
• JB Alberto Pizza
• Pork Chop
• Jerk. Modern Jamaican Grill
• Chicago Cupcake
• Ice Cubed

Saturday, Jill Scott
• Bombay Wraps
• The Salsa Truck
• JB Alberto Pizza
• Pork Chop
• Cheesies
• Chicago Cupcake
• Ice Cubed

Sunday, Neon Trees
• Taquero Fusion: 2
• JB Alberto Pizza
• The Fat Shallot
• Jerk. Modern Jamaican Grill
• Chicago Cupcake
• Ice Cubed

For the past few years, the city has been trying to turn around the festival’s financial misfortunes. It lost more than $1 million last year, and hasn’t made a profit since 2008.

Last year, the city rescheduled the Taste of Chicago to move it away from the July 4th weekend. It used to start on the last Friday in June and end the Sunday after Independence Day. Now it is held in mid-July, and has run for only five days instead of ten.

Last year also was the first year the city started charging Taste visitors for seats at concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell – for $25 each – although lawn seats are still free.

The Taste also has started offering gourmet three-course sit-down meals prepared by celebrity chefs at an air-conditioned pavilion, for $40 per person.

This year’s celebrity chefs are Rick Bayless, Carrie Nahabedian, Giuseppe Tentori, Paul Kahan, and a pairing of Gale Gand and The Hearty Boys.

Six new restaurants also will have booths at this year’s Taste: Lao Ma La Chinese Restaurant, Wishbone, Flipped Crepes, Bombay Spice Grill & Wine, Beat Kitchen, and Caffe Gelato.

Beat Kitchen and Caffe Gelato were pop-up restaurants at last year’s Taste, meaning they were only at one day of the festival, but they’ll be there for the entire Taste this year.

The full restaurant lineup this year includes:

Abbey Pub & Restaurant
3420 W. Grace St.

Bacino’s of Lincoln Park
2204 N. Lincoln Ave.

Beat Kitchen
2100 W. Belmont Ave.

Billy Goat Inn
1535 W. Madison St.

BJ’s Market & Bakery
8734 S. Stony Island Ave.

Bobak Sausage Co.
5725 S. Archer Ave.

Bombay Spice Grill & Wine
450 N. Clark St.

Caffe Gelato
2034 W. Division St.

Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill
300 W. 26th St.

Churro Factory
3755 W. Armitage St.

Connie’s Pizza
2371 S. Archer Ave.

Cubby Bear Lounge, Ltd.
1059 W. Addison St.

Dominick’s
Chicagoland Locations

Eli’s Cheesecake
6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.

Flip Crepes
131 N. Clinton. St., Suite 12

Franco’s Ristorante
300 W. 31st St.

The Fudge Pot
1532 N. Wells St.

Gold Coast Dogs
225 S. Canal St.

Iyanze
4623 N. Broadway St.

Kasia’s Deli
2101 W. Chicago Ave.

Lao Ma La Chinese Restaurant
2017 S. Wells St.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
805 S. State St.

The Noodle Vietnamese
2336 S. Wentworth Ave.

Oak Street Beach Café
5700 S. Cicero Ave.

O’Briens Restaurant
1528 N. Wells St.

Original Rainbow Cone
9233 S. Western Ave.

Pazzo’s Cucina Italiana
23 E. Jackson St.

Ricobene’s on 26th St.
252 W. 26th St.

Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs
201 N. Clark St.

The Smoke Daddy
1804 W. Division St.

Star of Siam
11 E. Illinois St.

Tuscany
1014 W. Taylor St.

Tutto Italiano
501 S. Wells St.

Vee-Vee’s African Restaurant
6232 N. Broadway St.

Wishbone Restaurant
1001 W. Washington Blvd.

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