DOWNTOWN — The Taste of Chicago is back this year as “Taste of Chicago To-Go” with safe ways to participate in the yearly tradition during the pandemic.
Instead of a massive event in Grant Park, this year’s Taste — happening virtually between July 8 and 12 — will include community meals hosted by Chicago residents, online cooking classes, and virtual music and dance events.
In early June, the city canceled the Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and every large outdoor event held through Sept. 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Eateries participating in this year’s festival include a mix of Chicago classics, neighborhood favorites, and food trucks, such as the Billy Goat Tavern, La Cocinita Food Truck, and the Original Rainbow Cone.
The full list of restaurants, their menus, and their preferred method of ordering and food delivery can be found at the Taste of Chicago website.
The “reimagined” Taste of Chicago invites the participating restaurants to hold a free meal for frontline healthcare workers and community organizations, such as Advocate Trinity Hospital, La Casa Norte, and South Shore Hospital.
Local chefs will also offer online cooking demonstrations of their favorite home meals every day of the festival at noon on YouTube.
The Taste is also hosting the “SummerDance in Place” — a “new, at-home version of Chicago’s social dancing tradition” where residents are asked to plan small, “socially distant dance parties” at home.
The festival urged people to host events with 50 or less people indoors and 100 or less people outdoors, adhering to Chicago’s Phase Four reopening guidelines.
The first dance party is Bollywood & Bhangra themed dance lesson by Bollywood Groove with music from DJ iLLEST on July 8. It starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be streamed on YouTube and WTTW Prime.
A “Millennium Park at Home” music series will feature The Braided James and Jon Langford on July 9 at 6 p.m. and will also be streamed on YouTube.
People can purchase Taste of Chicago merchandise from local artists to benefit the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund here.
“Local restaurants make up the backbone of our neighborhoods – and we’re finding creative ways to support both them and the communities they serve while prioritizing health and safety,” Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said in a press release.
“While this year is different for all of us, the spirit of Taste of Chicago lives on with community meals and virtual events showcasing Chicago’s diverse and legendary culinary, music and arts scene.”
Taste of Chicago To-Go Schedule
View all programs at youtube.com/ChicagoDCASE
Wednesday, July 8
Cooking Demonstration: Chef Carlos Gaytan of Tzuco prepares Avocado Flatbread
SummerDance in Place: Bollywood & Bhangra with Bollywood Groove and DJ iLLEST
A new online edition of Chicago’s favorite social dancing tradition. This program also broadcasts and streams on WTTW Prime (11.2).
Thursday, July 9
Cooking Demonstration: Chef Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pie prepares Lemon Lime Cake
Millennium Park at Home: Music Series with The Braided Janes and Jon Langford
Friday, July 10
Cooking Demonstration: Chef Jessica Romanowski of Care Kitchen Chicago prepares Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Cookies
Saturday, July 11
Cooking Demonstration: Chef Darnell Reed of Luella’s Southern Kitchen prepares Salsa Con Queso
Sunday, July 12
Chef Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde prepares Pasta Fredda with Summer Herb Pesto
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.