Chicago Gourmet’s Line Problem

Great weather, loads of alcohol, and long lines.
Great weather, loads of alcohol, and long lines. Photo: courtesy of

Chicago Gourmet 2010 was a massive, all-encompassing two-day event this past weekend, which brought most of the biggest chefs in the city to Millennium Park along with some incredible guests. We have a whole roundup of the event, interviews with Thomas Keller and Jean-Luc Naret of Michelin, and some great slideshows of the food and the spectacle. For the most part, the event was a success. The weather was good, the food was stunning, and there was enough booze to make every single person very, very happy. But we figured we’d start off with what most people are going to talk about today. Basically, there were long, long lines.

“Lines stretched everywhere and in every direction,” wrote Steve Dolinsky from Vocalo. He chalks the problem up to being way too many people: “My advice to the organizers for the 2011 Edition: reduce the admission by at least two to three thousand people, or raise the price to make it a tougher ticket, and don’t offer Groupons the week before.”

David Tamarkin from Time Out Chicago was also annoyed by the abundance of alcohol compared to the amount of food. “Whatever tactics the festival used last year to curb long lines and incorporate more food were bypassed this year for more of those ubiquitous wine and spirits booths. All of which really makes Chicago Gourmet more of a wine festival than a food one.”

Even Phil Vettel from the Chicago Tribune noted the problem. “With attendance up 25 percent from last year, lines grew excruciatingly long at the five food and two dessert tasting pavilions, each hosting multiple chefs at the same time.” But they didn’t seem to bother him as much as it did the other critics. “It mattered little which line one chose. There was almost always an interesting payoff.”

We were wondering if anyone else had any issues with the lines? We were never able to get to Frontera, and Latin/Asian Pavilion had a ridiculously long line at some points. But we were able to get most of the food fairly quickly. Did anyone wait for over an hour?

Chicago Gourmet, 2010 Edition: wines and lines [Vocalo]
Chicago Gourmet 2010: An Opinionated Synopsis [Time Out Chicago]
Chicago Gourmet a cool mix of food and fun [Chicago Tribune]

Chicago Gourmet’s Line Problem