Taste of Chicago 2014 kicks off

The Taste of Chicago is back in Grant Park from July 9 -13 and features 64 restaurants, as well as live music.
The Taste of Chicago is back in Grant Park from July 9 -13 and features 64 restaurants, which includes 21 restaurants that are new to the Taste this year.

New Taste vendor Spritz Burger is the North Side brainchild of Food Network Hardy Boys Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh and James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Gale Gand.

"The hope is that we're going to have lines into the middle of the street for five days," Smith said. "We did a pop-up last year and that went so well that it convinced me to do the whole five day taste."

There are 35 restaurants on site for all five days of the Taste, along with 16 food trucks. More than 50 chefs are offering cooking demonstrations as well. Thirteen pop-up restaurants will appear for one or two days at a time. This encourages new restaurants to give the Taste a try and maybe come back next year for the full five days.

Find out more: Taste of Chicago 2014 Guide

The Bud Light Stage will feature 25 bands over the five days, a lineup which has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "The best Taste music lineup ever." Acts performing at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park include AWOLNation, Janelle Monae, Emmylou Harris, Jeff Tweedy and Lucinda Williams, and Aloe Blacc and The Wailers. Reserved seating for those shows starts at $18 and lawn seating is free.

Attendees looking for healthy options will have plenty to choose from; Humana Healthy Choice identified 52 healthy foods from 29 Chicago restaurants and they can be identified on menu boards by a green apple symbol.

Three- to four-course dinners will be offered by the Pure Leaf Celebrity Chef du Jour on Buckingham Fountain Plaza. Menus come from chefs including Art Smith of TABLE fifty-two and LYFE Kitchen, Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia, Paul Virant of Vie and Perennial Virant, Erling Wu-Bower and Amanda Rockman of Nico Osteria, and Matthias Merges of A10, Billy Sundy and Yusho. Tickets for dinner are $45, and the chefs will also give free demonstrations at In The Kitchen With Mariano's Pavillion on the day of their dinners.
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