Thinking About Adding Taste Of Randolph To Your Weekend Lineup?

This year marks the 21st anniversary of Chicago's Taste of Randolph, a street festival celebrating the best of the West Loop. While the vendors are made up of local small businesses and vibrant restaurants from the gritty-chic neighborhood, the music lineup (50+ performers) are from all over. It's the perfect way to spend a #SummertimeChi day and a fest you're not going to want to miss. Here are my top five tips on making the most of the food scene at Taste of Randolph.

Tip #1

If you're like me and you're only there for the food, buying VIP tickets isn't necessary. Spend some of that money on a donation at the Taste of Randolph entrance and save the rest for food and drink.

My favorite bite was the pork taco with green goddess sauce from BellyQ

My favorite bite was the Asian BBQ pork taco with green goddess sauce from BellyQ

Tip #2

Weekend hours for Taste of Randolph are 12pm to 10pm. I recommend getting there early. Since most of the food items are being prepared à la minute, the lines get long. Add that to the narrow pathways and crowds of people trying to navigate while double-fisting food, it'll get tiresome to make it to all the stalls you'd like to try. Being the early bird means you might also get more time to chat with the chefs before they get overwhelmed by the crowds.

Tip #3

The portion sizes are impressive. You won't find tasting portions and small bites at Taste of Randolph. In fact, for under $40, two of us ate very well. That's not an easy statement to make when you live in Chicago and want to dine somewhere on Restaurant Row. Some places are more generous than others in terms of portion sizes (WonFun and Mad Social in particular).

Whole portion of fried chicken from WonFun, comes with three huge pieces of chicken and a whole lotta chili

Whole portion of chongqing fried chicken from WonFun, comes with three huge pieces of chicken and a whole lotta chili, for $12

Tip #4

Vegetarian menu options are available (and awesome) but scarce.

Wisconsin grilled cheese on a stick from Publican Quality Meats

Wisconsin grilled cheese on a stick from Publican Quality Meats

Tip #5

If you've been eager to try one or more of the restaurants on the lineup, this is the perfect opportunity to get a good feel of their menus. Each restaurants has at least three dishes to offer. Below is a full list of participating restaurants:

Get on out there, eat your way through Restaurant Row, and let me know what your favorite bites were. Hey, you might even have some better tips than mine.


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P.P.S. Curious about my views on complimentary food, event coverage, and more? View my policy page here.

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