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Graham Elliot Recruits Chizakaya, MBurger, Jose Garces, Frank Brunacci, more for Lolla's Chow Town 2012

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Chow Town
Chow Town
Photo: Lollapalooza.com

For the third year in a row, Graham Elliot, along with Merlin Verrier, has pulled together an interesting selection of restaurants that represent the Chicago dining scene—from the low-brow to the high-end—for the approximately 90,000 music fans each day at Lollapalooza.

For Chow Town 2012, a few of the players from the last two years, like the ever-popular Kuma's Corner, Grahamwich, Franks N Dawgs, The Smoke Daddy, Wow Bao, Lou Malnati's, Goose Island Brewpub, Connie's Pizza, Robinson's No. 1 Ribs, Burrito Beach and more, will return. Some of the new spots may surprise you, but as Elliot said, "It's more ethnically diverse and there's also a larger scope of different style restaurants from food trucks to Michelin-starred chefs [while] still having that Chicago presence."

New restaurants, chefs and vendors joining Chow Town, which will once again be set up in north and south sections of Columbus Drive, include Jose Garces and Mercat a la Planxa, former Sixteen chef Frank Brunacci and his new company The Australian Truffle, Gibsons Restaurant Group, MBurger, Chizakaya, Kamehachi, Edzo's Burger Shop, Chubby Wieners, MasterChef competitor Suzy Singh's food truck Suzy Samosas, Homemade Pizza Company, La Colombe Torrefaction Coffee Bar, Lagniappe—a Creole/Cajun Joint, Peeled, Timothy O'Toole's Pub and more.

While the list does reflect a number of new places, Elliot compares the Chow Town lineup to that of the Lolla lineup, which changes from year to year. But ultimately, the they try to gather a group of restaurants that not only represent Chicago, but also gets places involved that mesh with the Lolla philosophy and that want to do it for the fun and exposure.

"The whole idea is [getting] people who can celebrate music and the relationship with food," Elliot said. "This isn't the Tatse of Chicago where people expect to go into it making a killing. When we talk with the restaurants we try to get the point across that it's about the music and that they'll be in front of 300,000 people."

In the past, some restaurants have presented food that wasn't music-festival-crowd friendly. This year, Elliot again recommends to newcomers they do what they do best, but still keep it simple and make it accessible to the masses. "Our first year we did buffalo chicken with beer bubbles and blue cheese and sold five of them," he said. "But then you deep fry lobster on a stick and you sell 15,000."

Elliot is referring to his lobster corn dogs, a now-signature Lolla item, which they'll sell again at the Grahamwich booth along with truffle popcorn. In addition, Elliot may do a VIP pop-up with The Roots drummer Questlove, with whom he recently announced a partnership called "?uest Loves Food" Powered by Chef Graham Elliot. Last year, Elliot and his team prepared dinners for a number of the headliners and other bands at Lollapalooza; this year they'll likely do the same and may draw in Questo for the party.

In addition to the main Chow Town vending areas, the festival will again host the Lolla Farmers Market, which will include booths by Seedling Fruit, Brunkow Cheese, Rock 'n' Roll Noodle Company, Tiny Greens Organic Farm, Puffs of Doom food truck, River Valley Kitchens and more.

The full Lollapalooza Chow Town 2012 Lineup:

· Ashyana Catering Featuring Chef Suzy Singh
· B Kuhl Dogs
· Bacino's
· BJ's Market & Bakery
· Brunkow Cheese
· Burrito Beach
· Chizakaya
· Chubby Wieners
· Connie's Pizza
· Edzo's Burger Shop
· Franks 'n' Dawgs
· Fresh Squeezed Best Lemonade
· Goose Island Brewpub
· Grahamwich
· Greater > Than
· Harris Ice
· Homemade Pizza Company
· Kamehachi
· Kuma's Corner
· La Colombe Torrefaction Coffe Bar & Roasters
· Lagniappe-A Creole Cajun Joynt
· Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
· MBurger
· Mercat a la Planxa
· Old Towne Smokehouse
· Original Rainbow Cone
· Peeled
· Puffs of Doom
· River Valley Kitchens
· Robinson's No. 1 Ribs
· Rock 'n Roll Noodle Company
· Sausage Haus
· Seedling
· Sweet Leaf Tea
· The Australian Truffle
· The Gibsons Restaurant Group
· The Smoke Daddy
· Timothy O'Toole's Pub Chicago
· Tiny Greens Organic Farm
· Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe
· Wow Bao - Hot Asian Buns

· Graham Elliot, Questlove Partner on "?uest Loves Food" [~EChi~]
· Graham Elliot Created "Michelin-Starred" Pop-Up for Bands, Celebs at Lollapalooza [~EChi~]

Chizakaya

3056 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657 Visit Website

Kuma's Corner

2900 West Belmont Avenue, , IL 60618 (773) 604-8769 Visit Website

Graham Elliot

217 W Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654 312 624 9975 Visit Website

M Burger

620 N State, Chicago, IL 60610

Grant Park

337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 (312) 742-3918 Visit Website

Grant Park

100 S. Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL

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