He's been asked by Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest, but Doug Sohn never found the right situation to sling sausages at a summer festival—until now. The organizers behind festivals including Do Division and Wicker Park Fest approached the former owner of Hot Doug's to provide food for The Dog Dayz of Summer and convinced Sohn. They'll hold the inaugural Dayz on June 27 and 28 at the Goose Island Barrel Warehouse.
"This is an opportunity to see people again, to hang out, and part of that I like," Sohn said. "Also, it's two days, it's not like a two-year engagement in Vegas. It's a two-day festival, and we're working with Goose Island, and it's a company where I know a lot of those folks and they're great."
Ticket are $75 each and go onsale at 10 a.m. today. The food offerings aren't set in stone, but expect a greatest hits of Hot Doug's favorites including duck-fat fries: "It won't be blood sausage or something obscure," Sohn reassured.
Sunday's pre-party of the James Beard Foundation Awards may have been a preview. Sohn served mini-Chicago-style dogs, along with amuse-bouche spoons of his bacon and foie gras sausages. Sohn, ever the everyman, said it was important that there was no VIP selection for the summer fest. Everyone will have the same access to food, as they will be two sessions each day, one at noon and another at 5 p.m.
Besides the encased meats, there music including Bobby Bare Jr., who will play both days. Other acts include Freakwater, Archie Powell And The Exports, North By North, The Hitmaker, Bare Mutants, The Lawrence Peters Outfit and The Claudettes. Check here for the showtimes.
In the past, Sohn's been busy with running his restaurant which made it difficult for him to contribute to a festival. He's got some help in putting together the food, but don't expect Sohn's former employees who run Hot "G" Dogs to be part of that team. Like Sohn learned, right now the Garcias are learning about the rigors of running a restaurant, including the time commitment.
Sohn, who will attend the Beard Awards tonight, has kept himself busy with the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Blackhawks. He's not bored yet, but is excited by the opportunity to catch up and chat with customers he hasn't seen since he closed up Hot Doug's last year.
"I miss the chit chatting, the interacting," Sohn said. "There's a whole ton that I don't miss, but that's the one part."