Mayor Emanuel Announces City’s 38th Annual Taste of Chicago Restaurant Lineup of 72 Vendors

May 16, 2018

The number of restaurants includes 25 NEW vendors representing a 56% increase from 2017

Christine Carrino, 312.744.0573


Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced today the lineup of 72 restaurants that will participate at the 38th Annual Taste of Chicago – the world's largest free food festival – this July 11–15 in Grant Park. Showcasing Chicago’s diverse culinary scene, this year’s list of 37 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 brings together renowned restaurants from across the city to offer visitors and residents the opportunity to sample some of the greatest food in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With both new restaurants and long-time favorites, it will be clear this summer why Chicago is the global culinary capital.”

Taste of Chicago is excited to welcome 25 newcomers to the event in 2018–as well as the return of two long time favorites Buona Beef and Original Rainbow Cone. The new food vendors include 7 five-day restaurants, 15 pop-ups serving for one to two days and 3 food trucks. They are as follows:

Arun's Thai Restaurant

Aunty Joy's Jamaican Kitchen

Esperanza's Kitchen Delights

Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize

Output Lounge & Sports Bar

Premier Rollin BBQ

Yum Dum

Aloha Wagon

Bee Nana LLC

bettyBOT Shop


Blackwood BBQ

Chiya Chai Café

Classic Cobbler

Get Off The Couch Catering

Grill City (Seafood City)

Josephine's Cookin'

Papa Luke's Gravy Balls

So Forking Great

Sun Wah Barbecue Restaurant

These Wingz?

Wood Fire Counter

CheSa's Gluten Free Food Truck

Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp



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. 

"Taste of Chicago showcases the city’s stellar culinary scene by uniting a diverse set of restaurants, food trucks and pop-ups,” said Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. “The Association has been a part of Taste since its inception, and we’re proud to welcome visitors to beautiful Grant Park year after year. It’s a time-honored summer festival that truly captures Chicago’s hospitable spirit and exciting range of culinary offerings.”

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. Whether craving the robust flavors found in ethnic cuisine, epicurean delights, sweet treats, classic Chicago dishes – and more – Chicagoans and visitors won’t want to miss this year’s Taste!


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 much 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 Also included in the cost are “Taste bites” prepared by Washburne Culinary Academy will be served Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 3 to 6pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5pm. 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.


Concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell

Taste of Chicago will also present a diverse mix of national and international artists at nightly concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell that include Brandi Carlile, Juanes, yasiin bey & Talib Kweli are Black Star, The Flaming Lips and George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic—plus the best of Chicago’s local music scene on the Bud Light Stage. Tickets for the seating area at the Petrillo Music Shell start at $18 and are on sale now at the Taste website, As always, admission to the Taste of Chicago is free, as is lawn seating during the concerts.


Arts and Family Programming

Taste of Chicago will present an assortment of local cultural programming that includes the Artist Garden featuring live painting by local artists, Chicago SummerDance with live music & social dancing on Buckingham Fountain Plaza (NEW this year), Kids Eat Chicago presented by Chicago Parent, the March of the Puppets daily musical procession through the festival grounds, pop-up performances by local artists in various locations and more.


CH Vodka Cocktail Lounge plus the Beer and Stella Rosa Wine Gardens

The CH Vodka Cocktail Lounge will offer mixology specials to enjoy by Buckingham Fountain. The specialty cocktail menu during the Taste of Chicago will include CH’s Fresh Ginger Mule, Tropical Rum Punch, Raspberry Lime Ricky, Bourbon Pineapple Smash and other specialty drinks. The Beer Hall and Stella Rosa Wine Gardens will offer additional scenic areas on Buckingham Fountain Plaza for Taste goers to enjoy unique beers and ciders from around the world and an array of wine varietals including Bodega Sangria, Stella Rosa, Mariella Rose and Maddalena from the Riboli Family Wine Estates.


Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen

The Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen dishes up a full menu of cooking demonstrations by local and national chefs on Buckingham Fountain Plaza. New this year, the area will feature a different theme each day. Highlights include, Chef Kevin Hickey of The Duck Inn on Wednesday, July 11 during Chicago Neighborhood Day representing Bridgeport. Executive Chef and Bravo Top Chef Season 15 Winner, Joe Flamm of Spiaggia will be featured on Friday, July 13 as part of the lineup for Pairing Day. On Sunday, July 15 the Emmy Nominated Chef, Jeff Mauro–Food Network's "Sandwich King"–will be hosting Sandwich Smackdown Day featuring friendly sandwich showdowns with two chefs battling it out for sandwich supremacy. The full schedule of Chef demonstrations will be announced in June.

The Taste of Chicago has seen a surge in popularity since it was shortened to five days and new elements added, including the Taste Oasis private lounge, pop-up restaurants, food trucks, chart-topping musical acts and cultural programming. In 2017, Chicago's iconic festival served culinary delights to 1.6 million visitors. Additionally, up to 3,000 people were employed by Chicago restaurants and vendors, and more than 600 artists and performers were hired to entertain Taste-goers over the five-day festival. The event contributes an estimated $106 million annually in total business activity to the Chicago economy.

Taste of Chicago is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in coordination with the Illinois Restaurant Association, which manages food and beverage operations. The festival is sponsored in part by 93XRT, Bud Light, CH Distillery, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, CLTV-Chicagoland’s Television, Communications Direct, Eli’s Cheesecake, IL Lottery, Lifeway Foods, Pepsi, Shoreline Sightseeing, Southwest Airlines and WGN-Television.

The 38th Annual Taste of Chicago is July 11–15 in Grant Park with hours 11am–9pm, Wednesday–Friday, and 10am–9pm, Saturday and Sunday. For more information on the FREE admission festival, visit To plan your trip to Chicago, visit Join the conversation on Facebook at Taste of Chicago and follow us on Twitter, @TasteofChi (#TasteofChicago) and Instagram, @ChicagoDCASE (#TasteofChicago).


Illinois Restaurant Association

Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The Association manages the food and beverage portion of Taste of Chicago for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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.


39 Five-Day Restaurants

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.


Buona Beef–Welcome Back!

613 N. McClurg Ct.


Caffe Gelato

2034 W. Division St.


Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill

300 W 26th St.


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.

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



2301 S. Lake Shore Drive


Franco's Ristorante

300 W. 31St.



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.



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


24 Pop-Up Restaurants

Aloha Wagon–NEW

1247 S. Western Ave.


Frönen Foods–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.


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.

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.


Seoul Taco

Available throughout Chicago


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.


14 Food Trucks

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


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