The Taste of Chicago has returned from its two-year pandemic slumber larger and more powerful than ever. Grant Park is now too small to contain the annual coagulation of food, music, fireworks, and people willing to wait in long lines in the heat and humidity for the chance to exchange small paper tickets for enormous turkey legs. So this summer, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) proudly announced in a press release Tuesday, the Taste will overflow from its downtown base into three neighborhoods on the South and West Sides during the month of June.
On three consecutive Saturdays, June 11, June 18, and June 25, mini-Tastes will set up in Austin, Pullman, and Little Village, respectively, similar to last year’s Taste of Chicago To-Go events. There will be a respite for the Fourth of July weekend, and then the Taste of Chicago will reemerge in Grant Park on July 8-10. All four festivals will have food and music, though Grant Park will have more of both; Austin will also feature performers from Blues Fest, while both Pullman and Grant Park will offer dance lessons from SummerDance.
Admission is free this year, and the festival has dispensed with the paper tickets; instead customers can pay the food vendors directly with cash or cards. It is unclear from the list of vendors who is taking up the mantle of turkey leg sales. A full schedule and list of vendors is available at the Taste’s website.
On the heels of local labor victories, workers at two more Chicago Starbucks petition for union certification
The wave of union organizing among coffee shop workers shows no signs of abating, as Starbucks employees at two Chicago cafes this week filed petition for union certification last week with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Most workers at 6350 N. Broadway in Edgewater and 6075 N. Lincoln Avenue in West Rogers Park have signed union authorization cards, Workers United told the Tribune. The announcement comes less than a week after pro-labor staff at Starbucks outposts in Edgewater and Edgewater Beach overwhelmingly voted to unionize, becoming the city’s first Starbucks to successfully do so. Despite the coffee giant’s aggressive and well-documented anti-union campaign, employees at 10 Chicago-area stores have filed for union representation since the start of 2022.
Lettuce Entertain You to take over upcoming St. Regis hotel restaurants after Alinea bows out
Seven months after the world-famous Alinea Group nixed plans to provide food and beverage at the upcoming St. Regis Chicago hotel, another local hospitality heavyweight is stepping into the fray. Leadership at the luxury hotel is expected to tap Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, the city’s largest restaurant group, to operate its restaurant inside the 101-story skyscraper at 363 E. Wacker Drive originally known as the Vista Tower, according to Crain’s. Initially slated to open in June, the St. Regis Chicago is now expected to launch in February 2023.
West Garfield Park’s only grocery store is now a weekly pop-up market
Garfield Park Grocery Pop Up, a moveable market with produce, meats, and other pantry items, is bridging an essential food gap for some West Side residents following the sudden closure of Aldi last fall in West Garfield Park, according to Block Club Chicago. The pop-up market, open 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at 4316 W. Madison Street, is the result of collaboration among organizations including Garfield Park Community Council, the Rite to Wellness Collaborative, and West Side United. The neighborhood is still in need of a reliable, affordable, and permanent grocery store.