Your Complete Guide to the Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago crowd shot, courtesy of DCASE
Friday, April 26, 2019 - 8:35am

The Taste of Chicago is the Grand Poobah of free festivals in Chicago. The city packs a ton into five days of food and music. With the inclusion of food trucks and pop-up restaurants, as well as booths from local restaurants, you can pack quite a lot into you!

Here's your complete guide to the Taste of Chicago, including the food, the schedule, and how to get there.

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Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago - women strolling in Grant Park

When is Taste of Chicago?

The 2019 dates are July 10 - 14. 

Taste of Chicago

Where is Taste of Chicago?

The festival takes place every year in Grant Park.

Taste of Chicago music fans

Taste of Chicago Restaurants

There's a lineup of 82 eateries participating in the 39th Annual Taste of Chicago – the world's largest free-admission food festival. Showcasing Chicago’s diverse culinary scene, this year’s list of 41 five-day participants, 24 pop-ups and 17 food trucks will offer Taste-goers an endless variety of more than 300 menu items to suit every palate.

With a name like Taste of Chicago this fest better be all about the food! The fest features five-day restaurants, pop-up restaurants, food trucks, cooking demos, and sit-down dinners.

Get Taste of Chicago food and drink tickets

Grilling at Taste of Chicago

 

There are beverage tents throughout the event featuring Pepsi soft drinks, Anheuser-Busch beers and specialty drinks plus wines.

New Eateries at the 2019 Taste of Chicago include:

  • 90 Miles Cuban Café
  • A Place by Damao
  • Bar Takito
  • Barangaroos Aussie Pies
  • Ben's Bar-Be-Cue
  • Big Wang's Chinese Street Food
  • Black Dog Gelato
  • Brazilian Bowl Inc.
  • Buscia's Bacon Buns
  • Coastline Catering
  • Da Pizza Dude
  • Dmen Tap
  • Dog Haus
  • Egg Rolls Etc.
  • Frönen
  • Gordo's Homemade Ice Cream Bars
  • Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls
  • Jason's Deli
  • Jeannie's Flan Inc.
  • Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
  • Josephine's Cooking
  • Jus Sandwiches
  • Kitchen 17
  • Lao Sze Chuan
  • Luella's Gospel Bird
  • Madame VanderKloot's Weiner Emporium
  • Mr. Quiles Mexican Food
  • Ms. Tittle's Cupcakes
  • Nourish Catering
  • Pink Flamingo (Flamingo Rum Club)
  • Pink Taco
  • Seoul Taco
  • The Cookie Crate
  • The Slab Bar-B-Que
  • Three Legged Tacos
  • Whadda Jerk
  • Yvolina's Tamales
Two women eating at Taste of Chicago

Five-Day Restaurants - These restaurants will be at the Taste all five days. Standbys include Lou Malnatti's Pizzeria, Billy Goat Tavern & Grill, Star of Siam, and Eli's Cheesecake.

FIVE–DAY FOOD PARTICIPANTS

  • Arun's Thai Restaurant, 4156 N. Kedzie Ave.
  • Aunty Joy's Jamaican Kitchen, 1217 W. Devon Ave.
  • Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave.
  • Ben's Bar-Be-Cue – NEW, 5931 W. North Ave.
  • Billy Goat Tavern, 1535 W. Madison St.
  • BJ's Market & Bakery, 8734 S. Stony Island Ave.
  • Brazilian Bowl Inc. – NEW, 3204 N. Broadway
  • Buona Beef, 601 N. McClurg Ct.
  • Buscia's Bacon Buns – NEW, Available at Markets & Festivals
  • Caffe Gelato Soiree, 2034 W. Division St.
  • Chicago's Dog House, 816 W. Fullerton Ave.
  • Churro Factory - Xurro, 2214 S. Wolcott Ave.
  • Connie's Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Ave.
  • Doom Street Eats, Available at Markets & Festivals
  • Esperanza, 2301 S. Lakeshore Dr.
  • Franco's Ristorante, 300 W. 31st St.
  • Frannie's Café Inc, 623 S. Wabash Ave.
  • Frönen – Now 5 Days, Available at Markets and Festivals
  • Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize, 2518 W. 63rd St.
  • Gold Coast Dogs, 225 S. Canal St.
  • Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls, 1251 W. Fullerton Ave.
  • Iyanze, 4623 N. Broadway
  • Josephine's Cooking, 436 E. 79th St.
  • Kasia’s Deli, 2101 W. Chicago Ave.
  • La Mexicana, 4171 S. Archer Ave.
  • Lao Sze Chuan – NEW, 520 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, 805 S. State St.
  • Premier Rollin BBQ, Available for Catering
  • Rainbow Cone LLC, 9233 S. Western Ave.
  • Ricobene's, 252 W. 26th St.
  • Robinson's No 1 Ribs, 225 S. Canal St.
  • Seoul Taco, 738 N. Clark St.
  • Texas de Brazil, 210 E. Illinois St.
  • The Cookie Crate, Available at Markets & Festivals
  • The Eli's Cheesecake Company, 6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.
  • The Slab Bar-B-Que – NEW, 1918 E. 71st St.
  • The Star of Siam, 11 E. Illinois St.
  • Ukai Japanese Restaurant, 1059 W. Belmont St.
  • Vee Vee's African Restaurant, 6232 N. Broadway
  • Yum Dum, Available at Markets & Festivals
  • Yvolina's Tamales – NEW, 814 W. 18th St.
Family in front of pop-up restaurants at Taste of Chicago

Pop-Up Restaurants - Only appearing for a day or two, these restaurants give you an opportunity to try a taste before heading in for a full meal. 

POP-UP FOOD PARTICIPANTS

  • 90 Miles Cuban Café – NEW, 2540 W. Armitage Ave.
  • A Place by Damao – NEW, 2621 S. Halsted St. Ste 1
  • Bar Takito – NEW, 210 N. Morgan St.
  • Barangaroos Aussie Pies – NEW, 3208 N. Sheffield Ave.
  • BettyBop Shop, 7100 S. South Shore Dr.
  • BITES Asian Kitchen + Bar, 3313 N. Clark St.
  • Black Dog Gelato – NEW, 859 N. Damen Ave.
  • Classic Cobbler, Available for Catering
  • Damen Tap – NEW, 2849 W. Belmont Ave.
  • Dog Haus – NEW, 2464 N. Lincoln Ave.
  • Egg Rolls Etc. – NEW, Available for Catering
  • Gordo's Homemade Ice Cream Bars – NEW, 729 S. Dearborn St.
  • Jason's Deli – NEW, 1258 S. Canal St.
  • Jeannie's Flan Inc. – NEW, Available for Catering
  • Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams – NEW, 1505 N. Milwaukee Ave.
  • Jus Sandwiches – NEW, Available for Catering
  • Kitchen 17 – NEW, 3132 N. Broadway
  • Luella's Gospel Bird – NEW, 2009 N. Damen Ave.
  • Madame VanderKloot's Weiner Emporium – NEW, Available at Markets & Festivals
  • Nourish Catering – NEW, Available for Catering
  • Seafood City Supermarket (Grill City), 5033 N. Elston Ave.
  • These Wingz?, Available at Markets & Festivals
  • Warm Belly Bakery, LLC, 1148 W. Monroe St.
  • Wood Fire Counter, 131 N. Clinton St.
Beijing Duck at Taste of Chicago

Food Trucks - There's just something about food trucks. Chicagoans love them, and there'll be a healthy representation with several options.

  • American Glory
  • Aztec Dave's Food Truck
  • Beavers Coffee + Donuts
  • Big Wang's Chinese Street Food – NEW
  • Coastline Catering – NEW
  • Da Pizza Dude – NEW
  • Giordano's
  • Harold's Chicken
  • La Cocinita
  • Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp
  • Mr. Quiles Mexican Food – NEW
  • Ms. Tittle's Cupcakes – NEW
  • Pink Flamingo (Flamingo Rum Club) – NEW
  • Pink Taco – NEW
  • The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  • Three Legged Tacos – NEW
  • Whadda Jerk – NEW

Celebrity Chef du Jour - at these events you can actually sit down and have a three-course dinner. Each day a different chef shares his or her expertise. These are ticketed events.

Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen Cooking Demonstrations - you'll find chef demos galore in this tent. This is also where you can catch the chefs highlighted in the Celebrity Chef du Jour dinners. 

 

Taste of Chicago Lifeway Kefir cooking demonstration

2019 LIFEWAY FOODS TASTE KITCHEN

The Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen dishes up a full menu of cooking demonstrations by local and national chefs including Chef Mary Nguyen of Saigon Sisters, Chef Martial Noguier of Bistronomic, Chef Michael Sheerin of Taureaux Tavern and Chef Giancarlo Valera of Tanta Chicago.  Each day of the cooking demonstrations held on the Buckingham Fountain Plaza will feature a different culinary theme.

Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen at Taste of Chicago

Wednesday, July 10                
Best Lists will highlight award-winning chefs, restaurants and those with dishes  that have been featured on various "best of” lists.

Thursday, July 11                    
City Streets will feature chefs and restaurants from the many notable or historic city streets across Chicago.

 

Friday, July 12                       
Healthy Eating will spotlight delicious dishes that are also healthy, gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian.

 

Saturday, July 13                    
Spicy Hot will star a variety of cuisines that bring the heat.

 

Sunday, July 14   
Mac N Cheese Smackdown is a fun-and-friendly showcase of chefs “battling it  out” for Mac N Cheese supremacy.

 

CH Distillery Spirit Lounge plus Beer and Wine Gardens - as hot as Chicago's  craft beer and mixology scene is, you can't have a food-themed festival without featuring some craft cocktails and brews. Located by Buckingham Fountain, this lounge will be a great spot to relax and sip on some summer drinks.

Kids Eat Chicago - Chicago Parent partners with Taste of Chicago for two days of special activities just for kids. 

Taste of Chicago Music Lineup

General seating tickets for the Taste of Chicago concerts are $15 - $50 depending on where the seats are located and when you get them.

The Taste Oasis offers a prime concert viewing experience in a lounge setting complete with private cash bar, complimentary bottled water, small bites and more! Limited tickets available for $50.

Admission to Taste is FREE and for all concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell, the lawn is FREE.

Find more free things to do in Chicago

Petrillo Music Shell - Schedule of Performances

 

Wednesday, July 10, 5:30pm: Courtney Barnett

Thursday, July 11, 5:30pm: Bomba EstéreoCultura Profetica

Friday, July 12, 5:30pm: De La SoulTaylor Bennett

Saturday, July 13, 4:30pm: The StrumbellasLovelythebandJoywave

Sunday, July 14, 4:30pm: India.ArieMeshell NdegeocelloBilal

Goose Island Stage - Schedule of Performances

TBD

How much is Taste of Chicago?

Admission to Taste of Chicago is FREE! It's one of the biggest free things to do in the city. However, if ya' wanna eat, ya' gotta pay.

Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 14 tickets for $10. Ticket sales end at 8:30pm each day. Smaller "Taste of Portions" are available at each food vendor and are between 1-6 tickets.

Buy Food Tickets Here

The concerts are also free, but as mentioned above, if you want a seat, you can purchase a ticket. 

Get Petrillo Music Shell tickets

Get Taste Oasis Tickets

What's not allowed at Taste of Chicago?

  • Alcoholic Beverages (except those purchased at the event, of course)
  • BBQ Grills (Open Flames)
  • Fireworks or Explosives
  • Illegal Substances & Weapons
  • Large Coolers or Bags
  • Pop-up Tents/Canopies
  • Beach/Picnic Umbrellas
  • Flag Poles
  • All Pets (except Service Animals)

How To Get To The Taste of Chicago

There's a huge mass of humanity that descends upon Grant Park for the Taste, so how do you get there with the least amount of hassle? You've got four options: driving, taxis and ridesharing, taking public transportation, and riding a bike.

Parking

While this is the least preferable of the three options you can save money with discount parking services SpotHero and ParkWhiz. Both let you enter where and when you're going and will offer cheaper parking alternatives.

Check the map below for discounted parking through Spothero:

Taxis and Ridesharing

If you don't want to deal with parking near Taste of Chicago you can take a taxi or a ride-share service. If you're new to ride-sharing service use one of our codes and you'll get a credit with Uber and Lyft

Public Transportation

With its location in Chicago's front yard Taste of Chicago is one of the easiest fests to get to in the city. Basically all points converge within blocks of the fest. The simplest way to plan your route is to use Google maps and choose the Transit option. That will provide directions for both CTA and Metra. If you're taking Metra, tickets are one price for the entire weekend.

Riding a Bike

With the Divvy bicycle sharing program anyone can ride a bike to the fest. There are tons of stations throughout the city, especially by train line stops and downtown. If you've got your own bike there are bike parking spots around the perimeter of both Millennium and Grant Parks.

Hotels Near Taste of Chicago

If you're going to do the Taste of Chicago, then why not make a staycation or a vacation of it! There are several choices within walking distance. Check our guide to hotels near Grant Park to find a perfect place to stay. 

Some of our favorite hotels are the snazzy Radisson Blu in the Aqua Building, the historic Palmer House Hilton, the majestic Intercontinental Chicago, and the just-plain-cool ACME Hotel.

You can also search for a hotel here:

Booking.com

The Taste of Chicago is located in Grant Park at Columbus and Balbo, Chicago, IL.

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About Theresa Goodrich

Theresa  Goodrich is the founder and publisher of The Local Tourist and author of the "Two Lane Gems" book series, uplifting and slightly humorous tales of American road trips.

Columbus & Balbo, Chicago, IL
312-742-7648
Proudly referred to as Chicago's "front yard," Grant Park is a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area.
Grant Park
Taste of Chicago
Grant Park
Columbus & Balbo, Chicago, IL
312-742-7648
How Much: 
Free; concert tickets $15 - $50 (lawn seating free)

Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago's dining community.

Comments

I would like to know when Elis cheesecake is going to be giving out slices of cheesecake?

We'll check and let you know!

Hello! We heard back from Eli's and here's what they said:
Join us Saturday, July 8 at 12:30 for a slice of Eli's BIG Birthday Cheesecake while supplies last. A special celebrity guest will also be in attendance to sing happy birthday, and take a photo with Eli's Slice mascot while you indulge. All in honor of Eli's and Taste of Chicago's 37th Anniversary!