'Digesting The Numbers': Taste Of Chicago 2019 Delivers More Than Just A Taste

Jennifer Keiper
July 15, 2019 - 7:44 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Taste of Chicago 2019 is over and now it is time to "digest" the numbers. 

The 39th Annual Taste of Chicago sure gave more than just a taste, featuring more than more the 300 menu items from 80 eateries, including 36 newcomers.

According to the City of Chicago, more than one million people attended the Taste, which wrapped up on Sunday after a five-day run in Grant Park. It is estimated that the economic impact to the city created by the Taste of Chicago is $106 million.

With 80 eateries, there was truly something for everyone. According to the city, popular menu items included: chicken tamales at Yvolina’s Tamales, vada pav Indian fried potato dumplings from Hakka Bakka, spicy fried pickles from Doom Street Eats, Szechuan cold noodle salad at Lao Sze Chuan, gator bites at Chicago’s Dog House, kimchi cheese fries at Yum Dum, gelato donuts on a stick from Black Dog Gelato, buffalo chicken egg rolls from Egg Rolls Etc. and much more.

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs released some statistics from the Taste, which included that the Billy Goat Tavern & Grill served 10,000 cheeseburgers (("Cheezborgers"!)) and Connie’s Pizza served 14,500 slices of pizza and 12,300 servings of Italian Ice.

Chicagoans also ate 3,000 pounds of Frannie’s Italian Beef, 2,000 turkey legs, 1,000 ears of Corn on the Cob, 15,000 pounds of rib tips and 35,000 slices of Eli's Cheesecake.

"What other event brings together 600,000 members of just Chicago's community alone?" said Mark Kelly, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

He said visitors apparently really liked the experience.

"One of my staff whose job is to manage our social media accounts said he has never seen such positive remarks about the Taste," Kelly said.

The Taste of Chicago returns for its 40th year July 8–12, 2020 in Grant Park.

Taste of Chicago 2019 Fun Food Facts:

Arun’s Thai Restaurant

  • Phad Thai 3,300 servings
  • Fried Wontons 3,000 pieces

Billy Goat Tavern & Grill

  • Cheezborgers 10,000 servings

Brazilian Bowl

  • Empanadas 7,500 servings
  • Beef & Chicken Bowls 5,000 bowls

Connie’s Pizza

  • Pizza Slices 14,500 slices
  • Italian Ice 12,300 servings


  • Mangonada 4,000 servings

Franco's Ristorante

  • Watermelon & Lemon Italian Ice 35,000 servings
  • Sea Salt & Caramel Gelato 7,000 servings


  • Italian Beef 3,000 lbs


“People came back for fourths!”

Giordano’s (food truck)

  • Taste of Cheese, Pepperoni, Sausage Pizza 11,200 pizzas

Kasia’s Deli

  • Pierogi 6,000

La Mexicana

  • Paletas 128,000 paletas

Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp (food truck)

  • Lightly Breaded Shrimp 6,000

“I sold enough shrimp to catch them all in the Ocean”

Premier Rolling BBQ

  • Turkey Legs 2,000
  • Corn on the Cob 12,000

“Sold enough ears of corn to fill the ‘Field of Dreams’!”

Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs

  • BBQ Rib Tips 15,000 lbs
  • Hot Links 8,000 lbs

The Eli’s Cheesecake Co.

  • Cheesecake 35,000 slices

The Lifeway Kefir Shop

  • Taste of Original & Black Raspberry Kefir 1,850 servings

Ukai Japanese

  • Gyoza Pot Stickers 35 cases
  • Yakisoba Noodles 40 trays
  • Shrimp & Vegtables 40 lbs Shrimp, 100 lbs Veggies

Vee Vee’s African Restaurant

  • Jerk Chicken & Goat Meat 8,300lbs

Yvolina’s Tamales

  • Vegan & Vegetarian Tamales 6,000 tamales


Editor's note: Assistant Producer Margaret Larkin contributed to this report.