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A large crowd at Riot Fest 2015
Riot Fest turns 15 this year.
Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns

Where to Eat and Drink Near Riot Fest in Douglas Park

The three-day music festival celebrates its 15th birthday

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Riot Fest turns 15 this year.
| Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns

Riot Fest returns to Douglas Park for the punk rock music festival’s 15th birthday. Three days of music, mayhem, and — potentially — mud can make for some serious hunger pangs. There will be vendors inside the grounds as usual, but for those who want to explore surrounding area, there’s a few surprising and delectable spots to refuel before or after hitting the mosh pit.

Exiting the fest is a laborious task with traffic jams and concert-goers slowly making their ways to their ride shares. They’ll be surrounded by local street vendors. Not all of the food is worth trying, but Philip Foss, chef behind Michelin-starred EL Ideas, said to keep alert for a woman selling tamales out of a cart. She usually docks near Mount Sinai Hospital.

For those who are looking for an adventure, check out these delicious options to consider in the Douglas Park area outside of the fest grounds.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Lotus Cafe & Bahn Mi Sandwich

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4890, 828 S Wolcott Ave suite 003
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 877-5980
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This counter service bahn mi spot from two UIC grads highlights Vietnam’s signature sandwich. French baguettes are stuffed with proteins like honey grilled pork and ginger chicken, and topped with pickled daikon, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno, and house mayo. Festival-goers can also recharge with noodles, rice bowls, and pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup that some claim has restorative powers.

2. Jarabe Mexican Street Food

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2255 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 725-0507
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Cozy and family-owned restaurant Jarabe Mexican Street Food originally launched as one of Chicago’s first food trucks, according to brothers Teddy and Alexis Vejar. The pair opened a brick-and-mortar location four years ago with a menu offering classic and creative tacos, tortas, burritos, and more. Long lines form quickly at this spot so it’s a good idea to call in an order before showing up.

3. Claremont Diner

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2325 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 526-3425
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A sleek and stylized throwback to classic neighborhood diners, this Tri-Taylor gathering spot features hearty breakfast and lunch classics with gourmet touches. The Monte Cristo sandwich, for example, is made with house-cured ham, Gruyère, Texas toast, and honey, and then batter-dipped and fried. Other favorites include the six varieties of ice cream sundaes and a plethora of vegetarian and vegan options.

4. Harold's Chicken Shack

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1014 S Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 733-1401

Harold’s Chicken Shack originally appeared in 1950 on the South Side and has built one of the most passionate fan bases in the city. The brand has made fans of major hip-hop artists like Chance the Rapper and there’s even a clothing line modeled after the chain. Locations are peppered around the city and there’s a food truck. No one can seem to agree on which shop reigns supreme. The Tri-Taylor location is inside a strip mall.

A plate of fried chicken and french fries smothered in sauce.
Harold’s has chicken for days.
Harold’s Chicken Shack [Official Photo]

5. Aloha Wagon

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1247 S Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 888-9613
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The poke craze seems to be waning in Chicago, but Aloha Wagon is a welcome reminder that there’s more to Hawaiian-style eating than bowls of raw fish. A sizable selection of “beach buns” like the Kalua pork sandwich and a chicken katsu burger are tempting options, and tropical enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the loco moco plate (two beef patties, two over-easy eggs, brown gravy), a favorite among island locals.

A metal countertop five plates containing burgers, and white stools line the counter.
Aloha Wagon brings a taste of Hawaii to the Windy City.
Aloha Wagon [Official Photo]

6. EL ideas

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2419 W 14th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 226-8144
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This Michelin-starred BYO South Side restaurant has delighted diners with chef Phillip Foss’s innovative and playful approach to fine dining since 2011. The decidedly unpretentious spot aims to demystify the culinary process through its wide open kitchen and ownership promotes interaction between cooks and diners. The menu changes regularly and seats are scarce, so this is one reservation that’s best made in advance.

A playfully plated dish with grapes and flowers.
EL ideas is a true gem in Douglas Park.
EL ideas [Official Photo]

7. Lagunitas Brewing Company Chicago

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2607 W 17th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 522-1308
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Lagunita’s bustling brewpub and tap room features burgers, snacks, and a ton of Lagunitas brews on tap. With long beer hall-style tables and benches, it’s a particularly good venue for groups. It’s probably the best place to meet before the fest.

A live band plays before a crowd inside the Lagunitas tap room.
Lagunitas’ Chicago tap room features live music.
Lagunitas [Official Photo]

8. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria

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3859 Ogden Ave
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 762-0800
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Out-of-towners searching for a taste of Chicago’s famed deep dish are in luck and can snag a hefty pie at Lou Malnati’s Lawndale shop. Diners who want to avoid the inevitable sleepies that come with a deep-dish pie can order a thin-crust pizza, along with pasta, salads, and sandwiches.

9. La Chaparrita

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2500 S Whipple St #4138
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 254-0975
Visit Website

A Little Village institution, La Chaparrita humbly serves elite tacos stuffed with longaniza, lengua, tripa (ordered crispy), and more. Some critics have deemed it the best taqueria in the city and also praise its tepache, a fizzy, fermented pineapple drink.

1. Lotus Cafe & Bahn Mi Sandwich

4890, 828 S Wolcott Ave suite 003, Chicago, IL 60612

This counter service bahn mi spot from two UIC grads highlights Vietnam’s signature sandwich. French baguettes are stuffed with proteins like honey grilled pork and ginger chicken, and topped with pickled daikon, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno, and house mayo. Festival-goers can also recharge with noodles, rice bowls, and pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup that some claim has restorative powers.

4890, 828 S Wolcott Ave suite 003
Chicago, IL 60612

2. Jarabe Mexican Street Food

2255 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612

Cozy and family-owned restaurant Jarabe Mexican Street Food originally launched as one of Chicago’s first food trucks, according to brothers Teddy and Alexis Vejar. The pair opened a brick-and-mortar location four years ago with a menu offering classic and creative tacos, tortas, burritos, and more. Long lines form quickly at this spot so it’s a good idea to call in an order before showing up.

2255 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612

3. Claremont Diner

2325 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612

A sleek and stylized throwback to classic neighborhood diners, this Tri-Taylor gathering spot features hearty breakfast and lunch classics with gourmet touches. The Monte Cristo sandwich, for example, is made with house-cured ham, Gruyère, Texas toast, and honey, and then batter-dipped and fried. Other favorites include the six varieties of ice cream sundaes and a plethora of vegetarian and vegan options.

2325 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612

4. Harold's Chicken Shack

1014 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60612
A plate of fried chicken and french fries smothered in sauce.
Harold’s has chicken for days.
Harold’s Chicken Shack [Official Photo]

Harold’s Chicken Shack originally appeared in 1950 on the South Side and has built one of the most passionate fan bases in the city. The brand has made fans of major hip-hop artists like Chance the Rapper and there’s even a clothing line modeled after the chain. Locations are peppered around the city and there’s a food truck. No one can seem to agree on which shop reigns supreme. The Tri-Taylor location is inside a strip mall.

1014 S Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60612

5. Aloha Wagon

1247 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60608
A metal countertop five plates containing burgers, and white stools line the counter.
Aloha Wagon brings a taste of Hawaii to the Windy City.
Aloha Wagon [Official Photo]

The poke craze seems to be waning in Chicago, but Aloha Wagon is a welcome reminder that there’s more to Hawaiian-style eating than bowls of raw fish. A sizable selection of “beach buns” like the Kalua pork sandwich and a chicken katsu burger are tempting options, and tropical enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the loco moco plate (two beef patties, two over-easy eggs, brown gravy), a favorite among island locals.

1247 S Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60608

6. EL ideas

2419 W 14th St, Chicago, IL 60608
A playfully plated dish with grapes and flowers.
EL ideas is a true gem in Douglas Park.
EL ideas [Official Photo]

This Michelin-starred BYO South Side restaurant has delighted diners with chef Phillip Foss’s innovative and playful approach to fine dining since 2011. The decidedly unpretentious spot aims to demystify the culinary process through its wide open kitchen and ownership promotes interaction between cooks and diners. The menu changes regularly and seats are scarce, so this is one reservation that’s best made in advance.

2419 W 14th St
Chicago, IL 60608

7. Lagunitas Brewing Company Chicago

2607 W 17th St, Chicago, IL 60608
A live band plays before a crowd inside the Lagunitas tap room.
Lagunitas’ Chicago tap room features live music.
Lagunitas [Official Photo]

Lagunita’s bustling brewpub and tap room features burgers, snacks, and a ton of Lagunitas brews on tap. With long beer hall-style tables and benches, it’s a particularly good venue for groups. It’s probably the best place to meet before the fest.

2607 W 17th St
Chicago, IL 60608

8. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria

3859 Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL 60623

Out-of-towners searching for a taste of Chicago’s famed deep dish are in luck and can snag a hefty pie at Lou Malnati’s Lawndale shop. Diners who want to avoid the inevitable sleepies that come with a deep-dish pie can order a thin-crust pizza, along with pasta, salads, and sandwiches.

3859 Ogden Ave
Chicago, IL 60623

9. La Chaparrita

2500 S Whipple St #4138, Chicago, IL 60623

A Little Village institution, La Chaparrita humbly serves elite tacos stuffed with longaniza, lengua, tripa (ordered crispy), and more. Some critics have deemed it the best taqueria in the city and also praise its tepache, a fizzy, fermented pineapple drink.

2500 S Whipple St #4138
Chicago, IL 60623

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