Taste of Chicago: Food and restaurant line-up for 2018

Taste of Chicago: Food and restaurant line-up for 2018
Jeff Mauro and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Taste 2018 includes 26 NEW vendors representing a 63% increase from 2017

Sandwich King Jeff Mauro and Mayor Rahm Emanuel went one on one yesterday at the press conference announcing the lineup of restaurants and food trucks that will participate at the 38th Annual Taste of Chicago – the world’s largest free food festival – this July 11–15 in Grant Park.

Inside the GAR Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center waiting for the announcement. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Inside the GAR Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center waiting for the announcement. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The Fest that was dying only 7 years ago when Mayor Emanuel took office and many including Show Me Chicago were calling to put it out of it’s misery broke its all time attendance record with 1.6 million visitors chowing down everything from deep-fried Oreos and smoked alligator sausage to Jibaritos and corn on a stick in 2017.Taste2011banner

Even better it made money to the tune of an estimated $106 million annually in total business activity to the Chicago economy.


Because they did what they needed to do. As the mayor said yesterday, “We made the Taste a reflection of what’s goin on in our neighborhoods.

Rahm Emanuel at Taste of Chicago press conference at the Chicago Cultural Center. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Rahm Emanuel at Taste of Chicago press conference at the Chicago Cultural Center. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

They shortened to five days, added important new elements including the Taste Oasis private lounge, pop-up restaurants, food trucks, chart-topping musical acts and cultural programming.

Showcasing Chicago’s diverse culinary scene, this year’s list of 38 five-day vendors, 22 pop-up restaurants and 13 food trucks will offer Taste-goers an endless variety of more than 300 menu items to suit every palate.

Taste of Chicago will be welcoming 26 newcomers to the 2018 event –as well as the return of two long time favorites Buona Beef and Original Rainbow Cone. The new food vendors include 8 five-day restaurants, 15 pop-ups serving for one to two days and 3 food trucks.

 This year a record-breaking number of applications were received from vendors across the city and beyond (Australia!), representing a wide variety of cuisines. The Pop-up program is proving to be as popular as ever with a 114% increase of new pop-up vendors in the 2018 event versus 2017.

From traditional Chicago and Taste favorites like Billy Goat Tavern, the Original Rainbow Cone and Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs to newbies including: Esperanza’s Kitchen Delights, Aunty Joy’s Jamaican Kitchen and BITES, here is the complete line-up for the 2018 Taste of Chicago.


 Arun’s Thai Restaurant–NEW

4156 N. Kedzie Ave.

Aunty Joy’s Jamaican Kitchen–NEW

1217 W. Devon Ave.

Beat Kitchen

2100 W. Belmont Ave.

 Billy Goat Tavern

1535 W. Madison St.

 BJ’s Market & Bakery

8734 S. Stony Island Ave.


613 N. McClurg Ct.

Caffe Gelato

2034 W. Division St.

Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill

300 W 26th St.

Chicago’s Dog House

816 W. Fullerton Ave.

Churro Factory

2214 S. Wolcott Ave.

Connie’s Pizza

2373 S. Archer Ave.

Dia De Los Tamales

939 W. 18th St.

Doom Street Eats

Available at Markets and Festivals

Esperanza’s Kitchen Delights–NEW

2301 S. Lake Shore Drive

Franco’s Ristorante

300 W. 31St.

Frannie’s Café Inc

623 S. Wabash Ave.

Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize–NEW

2518 W. 63rd St.

Gold Coast. Dogs

225 S. Canal St


4623 N. Broadway

 Kasia’s Deli

2101 W. Chicago Ave.

La Bomba Restaurant

3221 W. Armitage Ave.

 La Mexicana

4171 S. Archer Ave.

 Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

805 S. State St.

O’Briens Restaurant & Bar

45 E. Riverwalk South

Original Rainbow Cone–WELCOME BACK

9233 S. Western Ave.

Output Lounge & Sports Bar–NEW

1758 W. Grand Ave.


1017 S. Delano Court East

Premier Rollin BBQ–NEW

Available for Catering

Ricobene’s on 26th Street

252 W. 26th St.

Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs

225 S. Canal St.

Star of Siam

11 E. Illinois St.

Texas de Brazil

210 E. Illinois St.

The Eli’s Cheesecake Co.

6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.

Turtle’s Bar & Grill–NEW

238 W. 33rd St.


1014 W. Taylor St.

Ukai Japanese Restaurant

1059 W. Belmont Ave.

Vee-Vee’s African Restaurant

6232 N. Broadway

 Yum Dum–NEW

Available at Markets and Festivals


 Aloha Wagon–NEW

1247 S. Western Ave.

 Bee Nana LLC–NEW

Available at Markets and Festivals

bettyBOT Shop–NEW

7100 S. South Shore Dr. 


3313 N. Clark St.

Blackwood BBQ–NEW

307 W. Lake St. 

Broken English Taco Pub

75 E. Lake St.

Chiya Chai Café–NEW

2770 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Classic Cobbler–NEW

Available for Catering

 Get Off The Couch Catering–NEW

Available for Catering

Grill City (Seafood City)–NEW

5033 N. Elston Ave.

 Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls

1251 W. Fullerton Ave.

 Josephine’s Cookin’–NEW

436 E. 79th St.

 Just Salad Chicago

135 S. LaSalle St.

 MAD Social

1140 W. Madison St.

 Papa Luke’s Gravy Balls–NEW

Available at Markets and Festivals

Pork & Mindy’s

1623 N. Milwaukee Ave.

 Seoul Taco

738 N. Clark St.

 So Forking Great–NEW

Available for Catering

 Sun Wah Barbecue Restaurant–NEW

5039 N. Broadway

 These Wingz?–NEW

Available at Markets and Festivals

 Warm Belly Bakery

1148 W. Monroe St.

Wood Fire Counter–NEW

131 N. Clinton St. 


 American Glory Food Truck Chicago

Auntie Vee’s

Aztec Dave’s Food Truck

Beavers Coffee + Donuts

CheSa’s Gluten Free Food Truck–NEW

Da Lobsta


Harold’s Chicken

La Cocinita Food Truck

Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp–NEW


The Fat Shallot

The Lifeway Kefir Shop

NEW! Taste Oasis

The new Taste Oasis will offer Taste goers the opportunity to enhance their festival experience with access to an air conditioned lounge in Butler Field offering tasty bites, a private cash bar, music, refreshing water and more. Classic cocktails created by CH Distillery include an Old Fashioned and Grey Hound. Day passes for this exclusive area are $50 and can be purchased at tasteofchicago.us. Also included in the cost are “Taste bites” prepared by Washburne Culinary Academy will be served Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 3 to 6 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Taste Oasis will be open throughout normal Taste of Chicago festival hours, but it’s particularly a great spot to hang out before and after the Petrillo Music Shell concerts.

All 75 vendors will offer signature items, as well as the popular “Taste Of” portions priced at $3.00 or less, allowing guests the opportunity to sample an even greater variety of items. Many will also include healthier selections as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options. Admission to the Taste of Chicago is FREE, and tickets for food and beverages can be purchased in strips of 14 tickets for $10.

The 38th Annual Taste of Chicago is July 11–15 in Grant Park with hours 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Wednesday–Friday, and 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For more information on the FREE admission festival, visit tasteofchicago.us

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