So The Taste of Chicago begins on Wednesday. Never been a big fan, but many of us remember where it came from….ChicagoFest, the mayhem on Navy Pier. (Picture above from The Loop broadcast booth ChicagoFest 1979). The early years out on The Pier were amazing times where memories were made. Navy Pier back then was still an old, mile long quonset hut, but it had room for us all. There were the floating music stages all around the pier, on the outside, lots o food and so much room inside to just roam and have fun. I’ve documented some my experiences @ ChicagoFest in my book: “DoinThe Cruise” Memories From a Lifetime in Radio and Rock n Roll. Those times were priceless, but that’s not to say we haven’t had some fun at The Taste as well. I remember one year we were there doing “The Rock n Roll Diner” at The Taste and our sponsor was Miller Genuine Draft. They had a semi trailer parked and we were up on top doing our broadcast when all of a sudden we’re being bombarded by dough balls from the booth next door. It’s Malnati’s Pizza! I’ve got owners Marc and Rick Malnati throwing dough balls at me while I’m atop the Miller trailer. I did return fire with some of the missed dough balls, but I was a sitting duck up there. I finally told em I would start a boycott of their pies on the radio or at least send a couple of my buds from CPD over to see them if they didn’t stop and maybe bring me a pie up top as well. They laughed and sent me a pie. They’re great guys with great pizza, but deadly with those damn dough balls. Must be a family thing!! Hazardous duty pay for sure for that round!! I guess the idea of going down to the lake front and eating over priced, under sized meals with a hundred thousand or so of my closest friends has simply lost some of it appeal, but just show I’m a fair minded guy here are some details for this weeks Taste!
The annual summer smorgasbord that is the Taste of Chicago takes over Grant Park from July 10 to 14. This year’s event will feature 82 restaurants, including 24 popups and 17 food trucks. Here is a breakdown of how to get there and what you can eat when you arrive. Hours and location Location: Grant Park (between Lake Shore Drive, Monroe Street, Michigan Avenue and Balbo Drive) Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday Tickets: Admission is free. General admission seating for performances at the Petrillo Music Shell range in price from $20 to $50 (lawn seating in Butler Field is free). A limited number of Taste Oasis tickets are available for $50. Performances at the Goose Island Stage are free. SummerDance, a free live music and dancing series, takes place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each day of Taste of Chicago in Buckingham Fountain Plaza. Food and beverage tickets can be purchased in strips of 14 for $10 (includes $3 surcharge for Taste amenities). Vouchers can be purchased in advance at ticketweb.com.
Transportation Roads closed: Sections of Columbus Drive (from Monroe Street to Balbo Drive and from Balbo to Roosevelt Road), Jackson Drive (from Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive) and Ida B. Wells Drive (from Columbus to Congress Plaza Drive) will be closed through 4 p.m. July 15. Public transportation: CTA (Red, Brown, Blue, Green and Orange lines, bus routes Nos. 3, 4, 6, J14, 29 and 151) and Metra (BNSF, UP Northwest and UP West lines) will provide additional service during the event. Parking: Charges at Millennium Park garages vary by time parked and garage. Booking is cheaper online and in advance. Bike parking: Available on the edge of Grant and Millennium parks.