Fixes for next year’s Chicago Gourmet

Lines for Food

Battling through the Allen Brothers Tasting Pavilion.

Although I love this event, there are a few things that could go better with Chicago Gourmet. Here are my thoughts:

  • The lines were a problem again this year. Don’t put popular give-away lines perpendicular to popular food lines. The Allen Brothers/Stella Artois cross-roads was nearly impassable. A little thought about line management would’ve helped the capacity crowd enjoy things more.
  • Switch pavilion four, which is set in the back and has a set of stairs, with one of the center wine vendors and manage the line the same as the other pavilions. With the current set-up, there’s no way to grab food from five stations at one time or eat between those stations.
  • Label the food! Some places did this, others did not. It was difficult to keep track of what I was eating. Also, people with dietary restrictions/allergies were having a hell of time. It’s hard to make it through the line to learn you can’t eat what you’ve been waiting for.
  • Rework the program for the event so that it’s easy to see at a glance where and when all the events are. A visual time-block sort of presentation would have been incredibly nice.
  • Make sure that all the volunteers for the event know where things are and how to direct people, and that the event map clearly identifies where everything is. The Park Grill South Plaza Tent mystified security staff and volunteers alike.
  • A better balance of food vs. alcohol, please! I would also like to see more Chicago-area brewers represented at the event. Spoil us with what the city has to offer.
  • A little more thought about accessibility is in order. All of the alcohol pavilions had high tables and some of the food venues were bounded by stairs.
  • Go green? The trash was better managed this year, but oh my god there was a lot of it. Any thought to reducing the carbon footprint of the event?

As media, we attended this event free-of-charge.