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7 Must-Try Menu Items At Taste of Chicago 2022
Things to see and do
The food festival is home to a wide selection of food vendors. They offer many different kinds of food so even the pickiest eaters can find something to enjoy. From authentic Caribbean dishes to traditional soul food classics, Taste of Chicago is a food lover’s paradise.
The festival is also known for its live music and entertainment. Throughout the day, talented local DJs, musicians, and bands take to the stage to play a variety of musical genres, from jazz to hip hop. They even offer free dance lessons for all ages at their SummerDance event, where a trained instructor teaches visitors the basics of salsa, steppin’, line dancing, and footwork.
When and where is Taste of Chicago?
Presented by John Deere, the festival takes place on June 11, June 18, and June 25. Because Chicago is the third-largest city in America, the event occurs in three different neighbors: Austin, Pullman, and Little Village. And for a preview of the festivities, a smaller Taste of Chicago event is scheduled for July 8-10 in Grant Park.
The organizers of the event recently announced their list of food vendors. And judging by the lineup, this year will definitely be one for the books. Here are six menu items that we can’t wait to try at the annual Taste of Chicago summer festival:
The jerk chicken tenders at Whadda Jerk
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Whadda Jerk is a Caribbean-themed restaurant and bar that serves an array of traditional Caribbean street foods with a twist. Fans from all over Chicago visit the establishment to dine on their tropical recipes. They even have a food truck that was even featured on WGN’s Chicago’s Best Food Trucks. Now, they plan to bring that tropical flavor to the Taste of Chicago Austin.
The restaurant is famous for its jerk dishes, including its jerk chicken quesadilla and egg rolls. But the star of the show is the jerk chicken tender platter, made with white meat chicken in a sticky jerk sauce. They’re topped with a cooling, creamy drizzle and complemented by a side of seasoned fries.
The sweet and spicy Mexican fruit salad from Razpachos
Razpachos is a popular eatery that specializes in serving authentic Mexican desserts and snacks. Locals of the Chicago area love to sample some of their hot and cold treats, including natural fruit juices and smoothies, authentic Mexican paletas, and tropical shaved ice. Even better, the company prides itself on its “top quality products with great customer service,” which has earned them a long list of loyal customers.
We’re looking forward to trying the treat that started it all, their Gazpacho Moreliano. This fruit salad is made with diced mango, cucumber, jicama, pineapple, and watermelon. It’s then topped with fresh lime juice, orange juice, and a salty and spicy Mexican spice blend. It’s the perfect way to cool down as you make your way around the summer festival.
The ribeye tacos from Taco Sublime
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Taco Sublime is a local Chicago favorite known for its savory and delicious tacos. The company started its business in March of 2020, right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the panny was no match for their original and handmade tacos that keep customers coming back for more (and more).
At Taste of Chicago Pullman, they’ll be serving an assortment of tacos for visitors to choose from. Their steak tacos are fan favorite, made from premium quality meat and your choice of fresh toppings. They’re then wrapped up in a cheesy crusted corn tortilla and topped with salsa to finish.
The "frips" from Chicago's Doghouse
Chicago’s Doghouse is a popular fast-casual restaurant known for serving up some of the best hot dogs and fries in town. They offer a selection of traditional hot dogs, including their Chicago-style hot dog and classic Maxwell St. Polish sausage. They also offer non-traditional hot dogs made from rattlesnake or alligator meat.
Their unique spin on the curly fry is sure to shut down the house at Taste of Chicago Pullman. The salty snack is a fusion between a french fry and a potato chip, called a “frip”. To make frips, the company hand drills their potatoes to create curly ribbons before frying and topping them with seasoning.
The tart and tangy pink lemonade from Southside Grinds
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Southside Grinds is a mobile espresso bar that serves hot and cold beverages to kickstart your day. The business is owned and operated by a Black woman with a mission to serve the underserved in the Chicago area. Recognizing a lack of access to premium quality coffees, she started Southside Grinds, a “socially conscious coffee brand.”
Today, the company is well-known to locals and tourists alike. Their “suga mama latte” made with brown sugar and cinnamon is a customer favorite. And their “lemon cream cheese pound cake” is an old-school Southern dessert with a modern twist.
Southside Grinds is slated to be at the Taste of Chicago Pullman, and we’re especially excited to try their “Southside Sunset Lemonade”. The cool, refreshing beverage is made with pink lemonade and butterfly pea tea for a sweet and tangy drink that’s perfect for sipping on as you pull up a chair and enjoy the live music at the festival.
The award-winning mac 'n' cheese at Auntie Vee's Kitchen
Auntie Vee’s Kitchen is a Halal restaurant that serves up hot and fresh comfort foods, from sizzling hot cheesesteaks to Caribbean smoked jerk chicken. The restaurant’s top sellers are their spiced peach cobbler made with sweet, ripe peaches and their BBQ chipotle chicken bowl with a corn and bean salad.
What they’re most known for, however, is their award-winning mac ‘n’ cheese. Auntie Vee’s mac ‘n’ cheese has been featured in famous publications, including The Chicago Tribune and Time Out Magazine, where they ranked number one at Taste of Chicago. You can try their mac ‘n’ cheese by itself or with an assortment of meats and toppings such as jerk chicken, Philly cheesesteak, or vegetables.
The smoked ribs from Mr. E. Chef's Barbecue
Mr. E. Chef’s Barbecue is a Black and family-owned business specializing in making Southern-style barbecued meats and sides. The restaurant was founded by the late Ernest S. Kelly III, who wished to merge his passion for comfort food with his love for his community. Today, his family honors his legacy by serving up his signature recipes that are praised by locals and non-locals alike.
Their hot and savory meats are always fall-off-the-bone tender, from their sweet and sticky rib tips to their crunchy fried chicken and catfish. The restaurant also serves a selection of delicious sides, including fresh roasted corn and tangy mustard potato salad. One of their most popular menu items is their sweet, glazed pork ribs. These mouth-watering ribs are served piping hot and pair well with a side of their gooey mac ‘n’ cheese or cold and crunchy coleslaw.