July 15, 2013

Taste Of Chicago Attendees Show The Festival A “Whole Lotta Love”

A Musical Lineup Including Robert Plant, fun. and Jill Scott Enhance the Festival’s Lineup of Tasty Food Options

DCASE    312.744.3316

When the 33rd Annual Taste of Chicago opened for business, blue skies and sunshine greeted an ever growing crowd to Grant Park. An estimated 1.5 million people visited Taste of Chicago over the course of the five-day festival besting last year’s crowds which were estimated at 1.2 million.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was one of the many visitors who returned again and again. 

“Anyone who visited this year’s Taste of Chicago enjoyed a family friendly, welcoming event, and also saw first-hand why our culinary reputation is renowned,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The festival featured many longtime favorites while also showcasing the latest chapter in our culinary history, the Food Trucks.”

Adding a little more star power to the event, in addition to the lineup of talent from both the music and culinary worlds, was a visit from one of the city’s newest temporary residents. Actor Charlie Barnett, fireman Peter Mills from NBC’s “Chicago Fire”, helped launch the festival at opening ceremonies.

Concert goers to the Robin Thicke/Estelle show might have caught a glimpse of Hollywood as actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher watched the concert from the side of stage at the Petrillo Music Shell.

“We were so pleased to book such a talented musical lineup that included Grammy® Award winners with fun. and Jill Scott, Robin Thicke, who currently has a number one record, platinum recording artists, Neon Trees and a rock legend in Robert Plant,” said Michelle T. Boone. “The Taste attendees really responded to the music as we experienced four sold out shows for the seating pavilion and near or at capacity on the lawn.”

But Taste of Chicago’s perennial superstar is always the food with this year’s festival featuring 29 first-time participants. At the Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour pavilion, diners delighted in the experience of having meals prepared by noted chefs such as this year’s James Beard Outstanding Chef Award Winner Paul Kahan who also visited with guests. All five of these unique opportunities sold out the $40 tickets which included a three-course, sit-down meal served in a decorated, air-conditioned pavilion.

The Pop-Ups, curated by WTTW11’s Check, Please!, offered new menu items each day from places such as Terzo Piano, Hearty Restaurant and Pecking Order. Two of last year’s Pop-Ups, The Beat Kitchen and Café Gelato, participated as five-day restaurants this year.

The packed crowds on the lawn for the evening concerts enjoyed Taste of Chicago’s newest feature and amenity, the Food Trucks. Four of the five concerts were sold out in advance of the festival, creating a full lawn of concert attendees lining up for samosas from Bombay Wraps, tacos from The Salsa Truck, grilled cheese sliders from The Fat Shallot and Chicago Cupcake’s delicious desserts, just to name a few.

A spokesperson from The Fat Shallot stated that they “had a blast being part of Taste 2013” and look forward to coming back next year.

The Humana Healthy Choice food items were also a popular feature at the Taste for those looking to balance their more indulgent choices.  Twenty different restaurant booths participated with 34 items receiving the designated Green Apple signifying a healthy choice; that’s the most participants of the five-year history of the program.

The Dominick’s Cooking Corner also enjoyed large crowds each day, as all the seats filled with budding chefs and bakers - and for some demonstrations, it was standing room only, especially for the talented lineup from the Mazda6 Celebrity Chef du Jour which included Rick Bayless and Carrie Nahabedian.

Chicago artist, Kelly Hogan topped a stellar lineup at the popular Bud Light Stage offering festival goers free music throughout the day. Other highlights included Canasta, Company, Lil’ Ed and the Imperials and many more.

Taste of Chicago remains a free admission festival because of the support of the corporate community. Sponsors throughout the event provided activities and free sampling, experiencing the same success as the festival itself.

Final sales and revenues will be available when all accounting is reconciled at a later date.

Taste of Chicago is presented by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored in part by ABC 7 Chicago, Aquafina, Blue Bunny® Ice Cream, Bud Light, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Transit Authority, Communications Direct, CLTV-ChicagoLand’s Television, Dominick’s, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Gallo Family Vineyards, Humana, Illinois Lottery, KISS-FM, LaGrou Distribution System, Mazda6, Pepsi, Radio Disney AM 1300 Chicago, Shoreline Sightseeing, V-103, WGN-Television, WTTW 11’s Check, Please! and 93XRT.

For more information on the 2013 Taste of Chicago, call 312.744.3316; TTY: 312.744.2964 or visit tasteofchicago.us. Continue the Taste conversation on Facebook at Taste of Chicago and follow us on Twitter, @TasteofChi2013

# # #


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors


Taste of Chicago 2013 Fun Food Facts


Name                                      Item                                                                 Amount/Portions Served

Abbey Pub                             Corn                                                                25,000 ears


Bacino’s                                 Stuffed Spinach Pizza                                  15,000+ Slices                


Beat Kitchen                          Empanada Chicken w/ Mole                       12,000 Empanadas

                                                 Empanada Chorizo                                       9,000 Empanadas


Billy Goat Tavern                   Cheeseburger                                               20,000 Cheeseburgers


BJ’s Market and Bakery       Mustard Fried Catfish                                   10,400 lbs.

                                                 Peach Cobbler                                               10,320 portions


Carbon                                    Steak Tacos                                                   32,000 served

                                                  Fish Tacos                                                     14,000 served

“On Saturday 7/13, Carbon averaged 1,500 tacos and tamales sold every hour, or 25 per minute.”


Churro Factory                       Funnel Cakes                                                20,000 pieces

                                                 Churros                                                           10,000 pieces

                                                 Churritos                                                         10,000 portions


Connie’s Pizza                      Pizza                                                                 32,000 slices


Cubby Bear                           Wings                                                                57 cases= 2,280 lbs.

                                                BBQ Wings                                                       70 cases


Dominick’s                            Watermelon                                                      26,336 portions

                                                Corn                                                                    11,960 ears of corn


Eli’s Cheesecake                 Cheesecake                                                     75,000 slices

                                                 Original Plain Eli’s Cheesecake                   25,000 slices


Flip Crepes                            Nutella (Taste Portion)                                     10,000 crepes

                                                  Ham & Cheese (Taste Portion)                     9,000 crepes


Franco’s Ristorante              Lemon Italian Ice                                               975 gallons

                                                  Watermelon Italian Ice                                      750 gallons


Kasia’s Deli                           Pierogi                                                                   25,000 pierogi


Lao Ma La                              Chicken Skewer w/ Hot Pot Sauce

                                                 (Taste of)                                                                7,000 skewers

                                                 Shrimp Skewer w/ Hot Pot Sauce                     4,500 skewers


Oak Street Beach Cafe        Bourbon Chicken Slider                                      9,800 portions

                                                 Lobster Tail                                                            6,000 portions


O’Briens                                 Corn                                                                         14,805 ears


Original Rainbow Cone        Original Rainbow Cone                                      30,000 cones & cups


Ricobene’s                             Breaded Steak Sandwich                                    15,000 portions

                                                  Boneless Buffalo Wings                                      12,000 portions


Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs        Rib Tips                                                                   30,000 portions

                                                  Pulled Pork                                                             30,000 portions


Star of Siam                           Pot Stickers                                                            100,000 pieces

                                                 Pad Thai Noodles                                                 6,000 lbs.


Taco Joint (Pop-up)              Elotes (corn off the cob)                                       1,050 lbs.

                                                  Barbacoa Taco (beef)                                          500 lbs.

                                                  Tinga Taco (chicken)                                            500 lbs.


The Fudge Pot                        Chocolate Frozen Bananas                               26,000 bananas

                                                  Chocolate Strawberries                                       7,000 strawberries


Tutto Italiano                           Toasted Ravioli                                                     57,500 pieces

                                                   Italian Ice                                                               17,000 servings

                                                   Fried Cheesecake                                                5,000 servings


Vee Vee’s                                Jerk Chicken w/ Red Beans & Rice                    4,600 lbs.


Wishbone                                Watermelon Lemonade Salad                            7,000 lbs.

 News Release Facts

 I Want To