Dates subject to change. BACONFEST CHICAGO BACONFEST CHICAGO WHEN March 31-April 1 WHERE UIC Forum, University Village WHY America’s favorite pork product takes center stage at this ultra-savory event, where the hottest local chefs create small plates starring the salty strips. Artisan bacon, bacon-centric snacks and other treats are available for purchase, and the meat is likewise celebrated in video, poetry and song. LINCOLN PARK WINE FEST WHEN May 20–21 WHERE Jonquil Park, Lincoln Park WHY All hail the glorious grape! This newer addition to Chicago’s food-and-drink fest offerings transforms a tranquil North Side pocket park into a thriving open-air market. Enjoy food and wine pairings, live music and fine art — all accompanied by the expertise of some of the city’s most respected sommeliers. RIBFEST CHICAGO RIBFEST CHICAGO WHEN June 9–11 WHERE Lincoln/Damen/Irving Park, North Center WHY Ranked #1 Best Food Fest by the Chicago Reader three years running, this protein-packed gathering gives visitors the opportunity to bone up on the best ribs in Chicago. Live music, a Kids Square, an amateur rib-eating contest and an artists showcase help round out the event. TASTE OF RANDOLPH STREET WHEN June 16–18 WHERE Randolph Street Corridor, West Loop WHY Get a taste of Restaurant Row, without the reservations. This established street fest has been bringing fine food, local music and more to Randolph Street for more than 20 years. A suggested donation of $10 and a handful of food tickets gets you access to the best chef-crafted tastes in Chicago. TASTE OF CHICAGO WHEN July 5–9 WHERE Grant Park, Loop WHY Nearly 1.5 million people get their fill at this foodie-friendly gathering every year. It’s the most comprehensive of all of Chicago’s food fests, flooding the city’s iconic lakefront park with tasty treats, live music, celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations and much more. ROSCOE VILLAGE BURGER FEST ROSCOE VILLAGE BURGER FEST WHEN July 8-9 WHERE W. Belmont Ave. & N. Damen Ave., Roscoe Village WHY What’s the only thing more American than eating a burger outside in the summertime? Eating MANY burgers under the summer sky — and the Roscoe Village Burger Fest is THE place to do it. Whether beef, turkey, bison, chicken, veggie or black bean is your burger jam, you’ll find the primo patties here. WINDY CITY WINE FESTIVAL WINDY CITY SMOKEOUT WHEN July 14–16 WHERE W. Grand Ave. At the Chicago River, River West WHY Country music, BBQ and craft brews — a ménage made in heaven! More than 40,000 guests will descend upon this folksy fest, which draws some of the best BBQ and brewing talent in the Midwest as well as top-tier country music acts. Past crowd pleasers include Big & Rich, Old Dominion and more. CHICAGO CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL WHEN July 22–23 WHERE N. Sheffield Ave. & W. Webster Ave., Lincoln Park WHY With more than 60 craft breweries within city limits, there’s an ever-growing audience for Chicago’s own hops heaven. Held in conjunction with the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk, this suds-soaked event showcases specialty, seasonal and small-batch beers from local, regional and national brewers. CHICAGO HOT DOG FEST WHEN August 11-13 WHERE Chicago History Museum, Lincoln Park WHY If we may be so frank, the humble hot dog is a critical part of Chicago’s culinary canon — so it makes sense that this sizzling summer staple has earned its own fest. Live bands, a kids’ area and all the dawg denizens that matter will be on hand to debate the best wieners, toppings and buns in the city. WINDY CITY WINE FESTIVAL WHEN September 8-9 WHERE Buckingham Fountain, Loop WHY Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain serves as the backdrop for this annual event, which gives oenophiles from all walks of life the chance to sample more than 300 wines from around the world. Live music and pop-up stalls from local restaurants and caterers complement reds, whites and rosés alike. CHICAGO GOURMET WHEN September 22-24 WHERE Millennium Park, Loop WHY Now celebrating its 10th year, Bon Appétit's Chicago Gourmet blends chef demonstrations and interactive spirits seminars with acres of top-tier tasting booths from the city’s most creative culinary artisans. Look for fun dish-specific events like last year’s Hamburger Hop and The Tao of Tacos. CHICAGO INSIDER GRAHAM ELLIOT CHEF What are your favorite Chicago hangouts and neighborhoods to take out-of-town visitors? The great thing about this town is the diversity and the different foods you can get anywhere, whether it's in Beverly on the South Side or Devon Avenue up north. Where and what do you eat out in Chicago when you’re off the clock? A beer and burger, which changes seasonally, at Horse Thief Hollow in Beverly. How has Chicago’s culinary scene evolved since you opened your first Chicago restaurant in 2008? The dining scene in Chicago is one of the best in the country. The people here are true foodies and love to support local restaurants. It's a great place to be a chef. The acclaimed Graham Elliot Bistro is scheduled to reopen in 2017 with a new concept. Do you have any details to share? We are looking to do something to add to the awesomeness of the Randolph Street area where the bistro is located. What inspired you to take on the role of Culinary Director at Lollapalooza? Do you have any favorite Chicago festivals or music venues? I used to sing and play guitar in a band before I committed to being a chef, so music is a big part of what I do. Chicago is awesome because in addition to Lollapalooza, we have the Jazz Festival, Blues Festival, Riot Fest and tons of other music celebrations. As far as venues: Metro, Empty Bottle and Aragon Ballroom. EXPLORE THE WEST LOOP The popular Taste of Randolph festival takes place in the hot West Loop neighborhood, home to the city’s burgeoning Restaurant Row. So, if you’d like to balance your stall snacks with sit-down meals, don’t miss lunch on the patio at 1 Saint Lou’s Assembly, thoroughly memorable Chinese food at 2 Duck Duck Goat and the one-of-a-kind alfresco shopping/dining experience that is the 3 Randolph Street Market Festival. The nearby 4 Fulton Market District is in the midst of a cultural renaissance, with a vibrant melting pot of art galleries and hip new restaurants.
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