Chicago, Thursday, January 26, 2012. The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has announced a new concept for this year's Taste. They are inviting first-time establishments, including some of the smaller neighborhood places, to set-up one-day "Pop Up" restaurants.
The idea is to give these smaller mom-and-pop spots a chance to participate in the Taste. "This will help ensure the festival is a true reflection of all of Chicago’s culinary community” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. In addition, Boone explains that "each day, the Taste will be slightly different and our patrons will have a greater variety of menu options.”
At this point, details are still a little fuzzy. According to the Department of Cultural Affairs, "the demand from chefs and restaurant owners will help determine the number of "Pop Up" restaurants featured each day, but the number is likely to be limited." Does that mean, three, five or ten new restaurants a day--or more or less? For now, it's wait and see.
Pop-up restaurants along with food trucks have been trending for sometime and can be a successful and popular option. If this new addition works, it could be a good thing for Taste and its patrons as it could bring a lot of the city's unique one-of-a-kind neighborhood restaurants to light. If done right, "Pop Ups" could be the future of Taste--bringing a much needed shot of adrenaline to a somewhat tired 32 year old event--and give patrons a "Taste" of the REAL Chicago.
There is no application fee for those restaurants applying to be a "Pop Up" restaurant making it a viable option for those whose pockets are not deep. Other restaurants must fork over $1500 to apply plus another $1500 upon acceptance.
Both "Pop Up" vendors and those wanting to participate in the full run of this year's 32nd annual Taste or Chicago can learn more and fill out an application at the Taste website. Applications are due February 21, 2012.