Taste of Chicago 2012 music, food get started

July 11, 2012 9:23:58 PM PDT
Taste of Chicago is back Wednesday. This year's giant food festival will be shorter and includes all kinds of changes.

The Taste is starting later than in years past, and it will be a shorter event, going from ten days to five.

The event includes a Celebrity Chef du Jour program, where each day features a different famous Chicago chef, including chefs from Spiaggia, Heaven on Seven and Girl in the Goat, doing cooking demonstration at the Dominick's Cooking Corner.

There will also be popup tents where three new restaurants will rotate every day.

Concert tickets in the Petrillo Music Shell will now cost $25 as well.

"You can still enjoy the concert on the lawn if you choose. Taste of Chicago remains a free-admission event. You do not have to pay to get in. Tickets are sold throughout the event for food and beverages, and some of the concerts that are not sold out yet are still available at Jackson and Columbus at a ticket booth there," said Mary Slowik, Taste of Chicago manager.

"We decided to come to the Taste this year because of the reduced time. We felt in years past the 10 days was a little too overbearing for our staff and our ability to produce our product," said Rocky Aiyash, Pazzo's Kitchen Italiana.

"I think one day is enough. It's good enough to let people know what Korean cuisine is and how our restaurant is," said Yun Jin Hong, Jin Ju Restaurant.

So how affordable will this be for your family? Tickets at the taste will cost you $8 for a strip of 12, which means eight chicken wings at Harold's Chicken will set you back $16 because they're asking for 24 tickets. But almost every vendor has smaller portions for less.

"I think it's very affordable. Each booth has a Taste portion, you have five tickets you get watermelon ice or lemon ice," said Frank Ruffalo, Franco's Ristorante.

Taste of Chicago 2012 Guide: What to eat and whom to watch at the Taste of Chicago, which runs July 11 to 15 in Chicago's Grant Park.

The Taste of Chicago, the world's largest food festival, draws millions of visitors to Chicago's lakefront every year.

Chicago's own Jennifer Hudson headlines the five-day food fest on Wednesday July 11. She'll take the main stage at the Petrillo Music Shell, followed by Death Cab for Cutie (July 12); Michael Franti & Spearhead (July 13); Chaka Khan (July 14); and Dierks Bentley (July 15). Click here for a full list of Taste of Chicago 2012 music acts, including the opening acts at Petrillo Music Shell and Bud Light Stage.

New this year, Taste goers can purchase a seat at the Petrillo Music Shell for $25. Tickets are sold in advance: explorechicago.org. Lawn seats are still free.

Also new this year, the Taste of Chicago is adding 15 Pop-Up Restaurants that will serve food for only one day each. Those restaurants include: Beat Kitchen, Jin Ju, Marie's Pizza, Inspiration Kitchen, Riva, Tre Kronor, Cafe Trinidad, Garifuna Flava Caribbean Restaurant, LM Restaurant, Arun's Thai Restaurant, Austrian Bakery, The Nile Restaurant, Caffe Gelato, Karyn's on Green and West Town Tavern. To find out what day these Pop-Up Restaraunts are serving, click here.

The old favorites such as Eli's Cheesecake and Harold's Chicken will continue their Taste of Chicago traditions.

Food and Beverage tickets are sold in strips of 12 tickets for $8, but can be purchased at the discounted price of $7 at Dominick's grocery stores from July 5-10 for those with "Fresh Values Cards" from the grocer.

Smaller "Taste of Portions" at the event will cost foodies between one and five tickets.

The City of Chicago recommends people take public transit.


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