Over the past few years, you'd be lucky to find a tamale or a decent burger at the three-day music fest. But last year, a local chef planted a flag in the midst of the food booths by offering lobster corndogs and truffled popcorn. This year, he's assembled an all-star line-up at what will surely be the most food-focused outdoor music festival in the country.
You'd have to be a crazy, picky eater, if you go hungry at Lollapalooza this weekend. At a recent preview party held at Graham Elliot, local chefs showed off some of this year's dishes - like shrimp cocktail with peach cocktail sauce from The Southern, and Kuma's famous egg-topped burgers.
"It's been a goal of ours to bring that to the music festival since Day 1, and we have not been able to do it until a cold call here to Graham Elliot," said Charlie Jones, the Executive Producer of Lollapalooza.
Elliot will bring back his lobster corn dogs again this year, but he's really been the lynchpin, organizing his colleagues to bring their creativity to Grant Park for three days.
"We said we want to have more of a focus on local; maybe some different ethnic things; restaurants and chefs that had the same kind of vision and focus on food as art, just like music," said Graham Elliot.
Elliot has assembled an all-star lineup - considering the crowds at Lolla are nothing like the typical customer for most of these restaurants. One of his recruits is the pan-Asian Sunda, in River North, which will offer small tastes from its regular menu.
"I didn't want to create something for the event so....we have the chop chop chicken salad, our version of a Chinese chicken salad, done with a peanut and jalapeno vinaigarette. We thought that was great. A little refreshing, light for those people who are going to be a little health conscious during the event," said Rodelio Aglibot, Executive Chef of Sunda.
"We have our braised pork bao buns. A little bit heavier; probably something that can kind of sober them up a little bit, but just something a little bit more substantial. And then we have a little bit of sushi. We're doing our shrimp tempura, where we're creating this sort of condiment that has wasabi, soy, avocado," said Aglibot.
Elliot says the 15 or so new restaurants represent a diverse slice of the city; from homemade pies to gourmet dogs.
"Yeah we have Sunda. We have More Cupcakes, you have Franks 'n Dawgs.. just a lot of different places that feature different types of foods and different ethnicities and approaches to it, but that are all from this city and it really shows that Chicago is an amazing food town," Elliot said.
There's also going to be a farmer's market with organic produce and Seedling Fruit Farm's smoothies from Michigan. Tickets are still available for lollapalooza, which runs through Sunday night.
Chow Town Drinks
Fresh Squeezed Best Lemonade
Sweet Leaf Tea
Chow Town Snacks
Hoosier Mama Pie Company
Mazzone's Italian Ice
Temptation Frozen Desserts
Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe
Chow Town Entrees
BJ's Market & Bakery
Elate at The Hotel Felix
Franks 'N' Dawgs
Goose Island Brewpub
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
Old Towne Smokehouse
Robinson's No. 1 Ribs
Rockit Bar and Grill
Salud Tequila Lounge
The Smoke Daddy Rhythm and Bar B Que
Trotter's To Go
Bleeding Heart Bakery & Cafe