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Jul 14, 2009 07:49 AM

Pitchfork - food recs for the festival?

Hi all,

I'm going to Pitchfork Music Festival on Saturday, and apparently you aren't allowed to bring in any food. My first question for anyone that has gone... how accurate is that? Has anyone had any experience sneaking things in?

Secondly, I view festivals, etc. sort of in the same way that I view the taste of chicago. Tons of people, can be fun with the right crowd/music, but usually the food is terrible and greasy. Anyone have any recs for food in the festival? I myself do not eat meat, am somewhat lactose intolerant, and in general hate greasy foods, so I'm a little worried. As long as there are options for good healthy food, my mind will be much more at ease. Any words of advice?



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  1. They'll check your bags, for sure.

    However, I wouldn't worry about your food options. There will be plenty there and a lot of it will not be terrible or greasy. A lot of the food is from local vendors. In addition, there have always been decent vegetarian options (remember who is attending the show).

    Here's a list from the website of the vendors this year:

    Robinson's Ribs, Star of Siam, Bite Cafe, The Rice Table, Wishbone, Abbey Pub, Cevapcici, Bombay Station, Urb Garden, Berghoff, Connie's Pizza, Goose Island, Chicago Diner, Whole Foods, and Temptation Ice Cream.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rubinow

      Thank you! I tried to look up the vendors but I guess I missed it.

      Any recommendations/insight on those vendors? Obviously I know Whole Foods and Chicago Diner, haven't been to Wishbone in a really long time so I don't quite remember if I'd like it now...

      1. re: ShikaSfrn

        Yeah, they don't list the vendors on a separate page (which they really should). I found it by doing a search for "food" on the news page.

        As for recommendations? Oh, geez, I dunno. I can never decide from all of the choices.

        1. re: ShikaSfrn

          Wishbone and Cevapcici were both at the Folk and Roots Fest last weekend. I ate at both. Cevapcici won't help you but if a non-veggie is reading this, they were very good and a decent value.

          Wishbone had a blacken catfish sandwich that was really moist and tasty expecially for fest food. The red beans and rice tasted like it had meat in it but I can't confirm that.

      2. You might want to stop off at Ina's for a late breakfast on the way over. She's got a nice little vegetable scrapple on the menu that's fairly unique and a lot of nonmeat breakfast options that'll fill you up. In any case she's open till 9 pm on Saturdays:

        5 Replies
        1. re: jbw

          Thanks everyone!

          I'll be at the festival pretty much all day, and they don't allow re-entry, so I'm basically looking for dinner options since I will be getting lunch beforehand. I couldn't find a bunch of those vendors online, but it's reassuring that you can't decide, because that means they're all pretty good choices.

          Has anyone actually gone? Is there anything other than beer as far as drinks are concerned?

          1. re: ShikaSfrn

            I've gone every year and live two blocks away from Union Park.
            They do search your bags but they have let me re-enter a few times, probably because I'm pushing 50 and reminded the door people of their father.

            There are vegan and vegetarian options, plus fruit available. There is water, sports drinks, soft drinks and lemonade to drink. They do a good job with their concessions.

            1. re: ShikaSfrn

              I've been every year as well. They check bags thoroughly, but definitely take advantage of the ability to bring in bottled water -- it's almost always brutally hot, and you will need it. Also, don't forget sunscreen.

              The food options are slightly better than your average festival foods; they tend to be smaller local restaurants with food stands. Make sure to eat around the main lunch/dinner times, because the lines can be incredibly long. Last year, I unfortunately decided to eat at about 6:30, and I waited about an hour for a corned beef sandwich and some curry fries (Abbey Pub). The sandwich was okay, the fries were...yeah, just okay, but at the time I was so hungry I literally just got in the shortest line there was, just to get something to eat. Add to that the fact that it had rained that morning, and I spent half that time standing in muddy runoff water...well, you get the picture. The food stands are traditionally crammed together in a relatively narrow pathway, so it can get really obnoxious to make your way through there when it's busy.

              Off that list, I remember Star of Siam having good stuff. Wishbone is reliable. Goose Island I only remember having beer, not food.

              In my experience, the vegetarian fare is usually better than the regular meat-eaters options, but that might be because when it's in the 90's, I'd rather not have a lot of meat and grease in my stomach. Again, if you try to stagger your meal times around the typical rushes, you'll probably be in good shape. Try to get dinner before 6pm or after 8pm, that's what I'll be doing.

              Drinkwise, beer is the main thing, although if it's the same as last year, they will also be plugging some sort of horrible energy drink and possible one of those designer alcohol drinks (like, a can of something with a terrible name like SEAR, or PHUSE, and it will be a combination of beer and lemon juice, or Red Bull and Gin, or something terrible like that). There are also soft drinks and water available pretty readily.

              See you there!

              1. re: bourj

                Thank you! All useful information...

                My friend's cousin sneaked in a water bottle full of vodka last year, not sure how she did it as I'm sure they check for the seal, but I thought that was funny... That same friend told me I could probably put something in my pocket, if it were small enough, or put a small ziplock of something in the liner of my bag that would be zipped... just info for you guys in case you want to do the same!

                I will rely on the booths though, good info about the lines and times.

                Can we bring in whatever size water bottle, and are there water fountains to refill?

                And yes, I'll see you there!! Enjoy yourself!

                1. re: ShikaSfrn

                  There is one water fountain that I know about.

                  So far this year, I've had Wishbone, Urb Garden, and Abbey Pub. All were decent, although the cleanliness of the Urb Garden setup looked a little questionable. I had the crawfish etoufee from Wishbone and the curry fries from Abbey Pub.

                  Biggest complaint: this year had way more people than last year, and the festival organizers clearly didn't anticipate the right number of toilets. Those lines were ridiculous.

          2. In the past, Wishbone has offered their black bean cakes with mango salsa. These are vegan and REALLY good. Definitely check out Temptation, too (soy ice cream)--$4.50 sounds like a lot, but the cones are actually pretty big.