Thursday, the city released the names of this year’s restaurants; there will be 37 full-time participants this year, down from 57 a year ago. Which means 20 restaurants that had participated in the 2011 Taste won’t be around this summer.
“A lot of people lost money last year, us included,” said Guey Lon owner Jean Lee. “We’re a small restaurant; we have to at least break even to do (Taste). This year, with only five days, it’s very iffy; if it rains one day, you’ve had it. I wish the restaurants this year good luck and good weather.”
The sole newcomer is Pazzo’s, a Loop restaurant that will be serving chicken vesuvio sandwiches and tiramisu at Taste.
Eli’s Cheesecake, the only remaining restaurant to have participated in every Taste of Chicago, will be back. So will Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, which has been at every Taste of Chicago but the very first one.
In addition, 15 first-time participants will be at Taste for one day each. These so-called Pop-Up restaurants, including Arun’s and West Town Tavern, are by definition joining Taste for the first time. There will be three Pop-Up booths at Taste each day.
Taste of Chicago will run July 11-15 in Grant Park.