The Taste of Chicago is just around the corner (July 8–12, to be exact), and today the lineup of participating vendors was released. There are plenty of familiar spots from Tastes past, including Ricobene's, Churro Factory, Billy Goat Tavern and Gold Coast Dogs, but this year there are 19 new vendors, which includes six restaurants that will be there each day, five new food trucks and eight pop-up spots.
The new restaurants and food trucks include some very solid spots—Bruges Brothers, Burger Bar Chicago, The Crave Bar, Dia De Los Tamales, Dinky Donuts, Inc., DönerMen, Emerald Isle, Farmer's Fridge, Haire’s Gulf Shrimp, Jack’s Fork in the Road, La Bomba Restaurant, La Cocinita, La Mexicana, Luke’s Lobster, Miller's Pub, Old Crow Smokehouse, Puffs of Doom, Sono Wood Fired and Yum Dum.
Another component of the Taste is Celebrity Chef du Jour, a daily sit-down, three-course dinner. This year's chef's are Tanya Baker (The Boarding House), Thomas Lents (Sixteen), Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster), Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (The Purple Pig) and Phillip Foss (EL Ideas). Tickets for each dinner are $45, which in some cases is a much, much more affordable way to try a chef's food. Sixteen in particular is pretty pricey, but Lents is easily one of the best chefs in the city, so getting to try his food for $45 is a steal. Tickets for the dinners go on sale Friday at 10am on the Taste of Chicago website.