It’s the final countdown (cue grandiose guitar riff): starting next Thursday, August 3, Lollapalooza unleashes four days of epic live performances, ranging from sets by Lil Uzi Vert and Lorde to Chance the Rapper and The xx. And now that you’ve read up on the festival’s finer points, plotted your perfect around-town itinerary, and learned how to logistically ace the festival, get the scoop on the weekend’s best bites—because with several of Chicago’s top restos on site at Grant Park, it’s not just the artists that are poised to put on a rousing show.
Consider Chow Town, the festival’s General Admission, ultra-indulgent quarter of food stands, a mini food-apalooza within its own right: curated by star Chicago chef and Lollapalooza Culinary Director Graham Elliot, the panoply of vendors ranges includes Lakeview favorite Cheesie’s Pub & Grub, Chicago stalwart Harold’s Chicken, and so much more. Prep your best #foodie hashtags—they’re about to get a major workout.
Typically, festival fare limits itself to the fried tried-and-true default dishes—not so with Chow Town: with 30-plus vendors on site at Grant Park, the menu more than runs the gamut. For a morning kick following an evening of after parties, brews from Dark Matter Coffee have you covered. To sate your sweet tooth, cool off with scoops from Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream and Original Rainbow Cone. Lastly, it wouldn’t be a truly authentic Chicago fest without some deep dish pie—so knock back a slice (or two or three) of Lou Malnati’s finest ‘za.
Discerning gourmands, fret not: there’s myriad menu options for those with specific dietary needs or restrictions. MAD Social, Lifeway Kefir Shop, and The Goddess and Grocer are but a few vegetarian options at Chow Town, while Dia De Los Tamales, Kamehachi, and more will plate vegan-friendly bites. And for the gluten-free feaster, Tank Noodle and Pork & Mindy's should be on your radar for amenable eats.
Just like the dedicated viewing areas, mini-spa treatments, and other elevated amenities, the food and drink program in the VIP experience is pretty plum, as well. For starters, Wicker Park taco institution Big Star and west side favorite Publican Quality Meats will showcase in the two areas, which also boast private bars touting wine, craft beer, and specialty cocktails (non-alcoholic sips are plenty, too). With the Lolla Lounge Café open from 12:30-7:30pm, there’s ample time to digest good music and awesome noshes.
With Platinum passes, not only do you get access to General Admission and VIP areas, you also reap the benefits of the North and South Platinum Lounges—in foodie terms, that means plates by One Off Hospitality Group concepts avec, Nico Osteria, The Publican, and Dove’s Luncheonette. Coupled with private bars and complimentary snacks, it strikes one hell of a tasty tune.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATRINA BARBER; C3 (VIP & Platinum)