By Phil Vettel
7:57 AM CDT, June 1, 2013
The City of Chicago today released the names of the 35 restaurants that will be participating in this year's Taste of Chicago, held July 10-14 in Grant Park.
There are a lot of familiar faces in the lineup, including Eli's Cheesecake (which has never missed a Taste), Lou Malnati's (every Taste except the first) and longtime participants Abbey Pub, Bacinos, BJ's Market & Bakery, Iyanze, Kasia's Deli, Original Rainbow Cone and Robinson's No. 1 Ribs.
New this year are Bombay Spice Grill & Wine, Flip Crepes, Lao Ma La (a Tony Hu restaurant, replacing Lao Sze Chuan, which participated in the last two Tastes) and Wishbone. Also Beat Kitchen and Caffe Gelato, which participated last year as one-day "Pop-Up" restaurants, return as full five-day participants.
There will be some new faces at Taste’s Pop-Up booths, which allow a few restaurants to serve at Taste for just one or two days. The contemporary-American restaurant Hearty will be at Taste on July 10 and 11, Bridgeport pizzeria Punky’s Pizza and Pasta will serve on July 11, the chicken specialist Pecking Order will be at Taste July 11 and 12, Taco Joint Urban Taqueria will appear July 12 and 13 and Tony Mantuano’s Terzo Piano will appear July 13 and 14. Jin Ju (Korean), Inspiration Kitchen (vegetarian) and Garifuna Flava (Caribbean), all Pop-Up participants in 2012, will return this year.
Conspicuous by their absence are Harold's Chicken #71 and Polo Cafe and Catering Bridgeport U.S.A., which declined to participate this year.
"We decided in December that we needed to focus more on what we're doing on Morgan Street, with the restaurant, catering and the bed and breakfast," said Polo Cafe chef/owner Dave Samber, who had participated in 21 consecutive Tastes. "I'll miss it, but on the other hand, the five-day format (Taste previously ran 10 days, sometimes more) is a difficult period to amortize your expenses. And I'm at a point where I really want to develop what I'm doing here more."
Find the complete list of participants at tasteofchicago.us.
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