Taste of Chicago draws in 1.5M people this year - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Taste of Chicago draws in 1.5M people this year

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Preliminary numbers indicate this was a good year for the Taste of Chicago, which wrapped up Sunday night. The city estimates 1.5 million people attended this year's festival -- an increase from last year.

14 food trucks took part in this year's event and the city and several of the providers are calling this new venture a success.

The publicity, they say, was great.

"I think that was the biggest take away for us, just being there, and getting new customers and getting out name out there," says Jerk truck owner Dion Solano.

Besides great weather, having nationally recognized musical acts at the Petrillo Band Shell, including Robin Thicke and Sunday night's Neon's Trees helped bring out the crowds. The food trucks were stationed on the outskirts of Butler Field.

"All three days we had huge headliners, and each and every day we had a long line from start to finish and despite the lines, every customer was happy, the only thing was on our end, there was a bigger demand than supply, but we made it happen," says Porch Chop Restaurant's Ashley Resa.

So did many other vendors. The city estimates Taste-goers bought 25,000 ears of corn, 20,000 funnel cakes, 100,000 slices of cheesecake, 32,000 slices of pizza and 25,000 pirogue's -- and that's just a sampling.

But the five days were not without problems. Truck venders complained that there needed to be more signs to tell people where to find the trucks, and some ticket booth workers apparently didn't know if the trucks took cash or only tickets. They only took tickets.

"Our location wasn't optimal, for visibility," Solano explains. "We had a lot of customers including other reporters coming up to the truck that had a hard time finding us."

But despite the grown pains from this year, truck operators we spoke to were definitely planning to come back next year if invited.

The city plans to meet with the food truck operators to assess how they felt the setup worked and look for ways to improve things for next year.

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