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Chicago Gourmet’s Bringing Back Two In-Person Events as Full Festival Not Ready to Return

Ticket information for September’s events will be released next month

A chef waiting for a customer to pick up bite from a platter.
Chicago Gourmet’s Grand Cru will return in September.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Chicago Gourmet, the annual food festival that brings together some of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants, won’t take place this year. However, some auxiliary events will return for in-person attendance in September.

Last year’s Chicago Gourmet, pegged for September 25 through September 27, 2020 in Millennium Park, was canceled due to the pandemic. There was hope that the Grand Tasting, the main event that takes up the entire park, could return for 2021 as outdoor events like Lollapalooza and Windy City Smokeout are coming back at full strength. Chicago Gourmet is taking a more restrained approach: the Grand Tasting won’t happen this year. Organizers debated over a return but opted to defer to 2022. Ticket holders for 2020’s canceled event will see admissions automatically transferred to next year. Full refunds can be requested online by July 15.

There is good news: Chicago Gourmet’s annual kickoff event, Hamburger Hop, will take place in person on Friday, September 24 from the Harris Theater’s rooftop, just north of Millennium Park. Last year, the Hop — which enlists restaurants to create special burgers for a competition — moved to a delivery and carryout model with indoor dining curbed in Chicago. That component was successful and will continue. This year, more than 100 chefs and restaurants have signed up for the Citywide Hamburger Hop with delivery via DoorDash. The Hop will also have an in-person component as Chicago has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions. Fans can vote for their favorite burger on September 22.

Additionally, the Grand Cru, which also takes place on the Harris Theater’s rooftop, will return. This is a premium event featuring a more exclusive batch of wines and bites from Chicago chefs. Instead of running for multiple days, the Grand Cru will take place over two sessions on Saturday, September 25. This year’s edition will also focus on craft spirits, according to a news release.

Ticket information will be released in August. The festival is in its 14th year. Beyond Chicago Gourmet, here’s a list of other food festivals that are returning this year to Chicago: