CHICAGO (WLS) --The gates opened Wednesday morning for the 37th annual Taste of Chicago. Grant Park is all about food and drinks over the next five days.
From the humble food truck to the fancy chef, Taste of Chicago lets attendees sample from a wide spectrum of options served up by some of the best in the city's food scene.
Manprett Bali and his son were at the Taste of Chicago and tried one of the many things they serve on a stick.
"It's bacon on a stick, and I heard that anything on a stick is good so I had to try it," he said. "It's actually so good, that my vegetarian son had to take a bite."
The iconic Eli's Cheesecake is among the nearly 70 restaurants and more than 10 bands that are taking part in this year's festivities. There are also 20 food stands new to the taste including Auntie Vee's Cupcakes and Pastries.
"As a little girl I would always come to the Taste of Chicago. I never thought I would be a vendor one day. It's like a dream come true," Navena Moore, Auntie Vee's, said.
There was a visible security presence as food lovers braved hot temperatures to sample what cuisines the city has to offer.
Taste of Chicago pop-up restaurants
There are about five different pop-ups every day at the Taste of Chicago, which means they're only there for day or two. They represent several restaurants from the city's neighborhoods. A few of Wednesday's pop-ups include:
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine
"It brings a lot of chefs together, it brings the whole Chicago food community together to really experience all that Chicago has to offer," Abe Conlon, Fat Rice chef, said.
Conlon will be cooking up a four-course meal for ticket-holders as the Taste of Chicago "Chef Du Jour" on Sunday, July 10 at 5 p.m. Or, maybe you'd rather dine a la carte, in which case, you can start with an empanada from Beat Kitchen.
"This year, we introduced the new one with chicken chipotle, we're calling it, a little bit spicy," Robert Gomez, from Beat Kitchen, said.
From there, you can move on to try some meals on wheels, like the gourmet sandwiches at Jack Jones' Fork in the Road Food Truck.