While many people were no doubt excited when the Lollapalooza lineup came out, revealing headliners like Coldplay, Eminem and Foo Fighters, the news of what food offerings this year's Chow Town will have likely gets your stomach rumbling. Once again, Graham Elliot, who serves at the music fest's culinary ambassador, has pulled together an eclectic mix of dining options.
Many of the vendors who set up at Chow Town in 2010 will return, including Kuma's Corner, Franks 'N' Dawgs, Local Eats (Blue 13 & Elate), The Smoke Daddy, Salud Tequila Lounge, Metropolis Coffee and Goose Island Brewpub. A slew of exciting new spots will join the mix, including Sola, Bonsoiree, The Gage, Henri, Jam (also under Local Eats umbrella), Juhu Beach by Veerasway (a new street food concept coming this summer), Saigon Sisters, Original Rainbow Cone, Wow Bao and Elliot's own Grahamwich. Bonsoiree is the first Michelin star-rated restaurant to appear at Lollapalooza, at least since the release of the list last fall.
While some great restaurants are coming back for a second year at Chow Town, it was a surprise that a few popular vendors like Big Star and Sunda decided to not return. "Last year was amazing and there was positive feedback for all of Chow Town," Graham Elliot said. "I don't want to speak for anyone, but I can say it's a huge undertaking to cook for 90,000 people per day for three days, while trying to keep things running smoothly back at the restaurant."
In 2010, Chow Town was split with half the vendors set up on Jackson Blvd., and the other half on Balbo Ave. This year, Elliot said all of the vendors will be on Columbus, however, split between the north and south ends running along the west side of Grant Park. "I felt last year was awesome, and this year will simply build upon that foundation," he said. "I think we'll probably see more approachable food and faster lines due to having a year under our collective belts."
And like in years past, Elliot will prepare meals for specific bands, but at this point, that information is still not public. "That's under wraps for now, but there are obviously some great bands playing this year that we'd be humbled to cook for." Knowing his penchant for harder-driving bands, it wouldn't be a shock to hear if they prepare food for the Foo Fighters, but time will tell. In the meantime, check out the list below of food you get to eat, rock star or not.
The complete list of Chow Town 2011 vendors and most of their menu items; some are still being developed:
· BJ's Market & Bakery: turkey burgers; fish tacos; honey BBQ chicken tenders
· Bonsoirée: scallop motoyaki with torched ponzu aioli; Wis. fried cheese curds with rhubarb romesco; Japanese chips and guacamole
· Burrito Beach: baja chipotle burrito; grass-fed barbacoa brisket burrito; organic black bean and goat cheese burrito
· Connie's Pizza: deep dish cheese and sausage slices; 10-inch thin-crust gluten-free spinach pizza
· Crescent Foods: benevolent burrito; spinach quesadilla; portobello wrap; vegetarian salad wrap
· Cubby Bear: Maine lobster roll; BBQ beef sandwich; garlic fries; corn on the cob
· Franks 'N' Dawgs: pork loin sausage w/ cobb-smoked bacon and fried egg; andouille sausage, fingerling potato salad and beer mustard vinaigrette; "Chicagoesque" dog
· Fresh Squeezed Best Lemonade: lemonade and limeade
· Goose Island Brewpub: Summerwurst sausage; beer-fed Cuban sandwich; falafel pita; grilled cheese-stuffed pretzel
· Grahamwich: lobster corn dog; truffle popcorn
· Greek Delights: gyros; shish kabob
· Haus of Sausage: TBD
· Kuma's Corner: TBD
· Juhu Beach by Veerasway: chicken tikka flatbread; veggie samosas; sweet potato chaat fries
· Local Eats (Blue 13, Elate & Jam): Blue 13 cactus tostada; Elate's watermelon jalapeño popsicle; Jam's famous french toast
· Lou Malnati's Pizzeria: cheese and sausage pizza
· Maine Root Handcrafted Beverages: root beer; ginger brew; ginger lemongrass lemonade; prickly pear cactus juice lemonade
· Mazzone's Italian Ice: Italian ice; frozen hot chocolate sorbet
· Metropolis Coffee Company: ice coffee, iced latte; americano
· Old Towne Smokehouse: Smokehouse cheddar burger; black bean falafel veggie burger; grilled chicken sandwich; steak-cut fries
· Original Rainbow Cone: ice cream
· Robinson's No. 1 Ribs: BBQ pulled pork sandwich; chicken tenders; boneless rib sandwich; pulled turkey sandwich
· Saigon Sisters: green papaya salad; Vietnamese chicken wings; pork or veggie satay
· Salud Tequila Lounge: beef taco platter; tamales; chips and guac
· Sola: kalua pork with banana bread; edamame with soy-cumin-hemp seed vinaigrette; roasted beet and pineapple salad
· Starfruit Cafe: frozen original kefir; frozen pomegranate
· Sweet Leaf Tea: iced sweet tea; flavored iced teas
· Temptation Frozen Desserts: ice cream
· The Gage & Henri: The Gate Scotch egg; Henri banh mi; pork rinds with vadouvan curry
· The Smoke Daddy: pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches
· Tiparos Thai Restaurant: various flavored smoothies
· Tuscany on Taylor St.: Italian beef; garlic & provolone stuffed sausage sandwich; three cheese ravioli
· Wow Bao: BBQ pork bao; teriyaki chicken bao; spicy Mongolian beef bao; whole wheat vegetable bao
Graham Elliot with a lobster corn dog at Lollapalooza [Photo: Ashley Garmon]