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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Frustrating Food Fest

We bought last-minute tickets to last Saturday's Chicago Food Truck Festival at US Cellular Field. We were going out for the Eddie Izzard show, so we thought we'd make a day of it. When we crossed the street to the Sox stadium a guy warned us against going in. He told us the lines were long. We're no stranger to lines, we already got tickets, and we had the time, so we walked up to the gate. The food trucks were on the far side, and we couldn't really see them. The entrance line was long but fast moving. It was the fastest moving line at the event. 

This event had promise, but there were so many logistical issues. Everyone was complaining, the staff at the gate were warning of long lines on our way out, and people were turning away. The obvious solution is to sell less tickets or attract more vendors. The selection was good and the space was great for the size, but there were just too many people and not enough trucks.

  1. While there were plenty of portable toilets around the venue, no hand washing stations or hand sanitizer were available. Not good when you're eating finger food. 
  2. Seating was at a premium. People were taking chairs from the event space and carrying them around with them. Some were using them to sit in line. 
  3. The lines were unreasonably long. We got there two and a half hours after the event started. We were there for two hours and spent the whole time in lines...two lines. We ate the first purchase in the second line. We ate half of the second purchase while waiting for the rest of our food. We finished our last plate of food on the way to the door. We picked the shorter lines too. The line for the jerk chicken had to be at least an hour and a half long. The lines were no shorter on our way out.
  4. The lines were unclear. You had to walk to the front and track your way back.
  5. The trash cans were overflowing only three hours into the event. There was no recycling available. I'm not sure everyone would have used it, but with plastic bottles and cans all over, it would be worth having some.
  6. The vendors were crossing menu items off of their lists with six hours left in the event.
  7. The beer selection was very limited. For a foodie-type event, Miller Genuine and Light just don't do. With a wealth of breweries in the area, it was incredibly disappointing. They did have liquor. The lines for the tickets and booze were the only things that thinned out by the time I was leaving. 
The food we got was good: a chicken sandwich from The Model Chef; cannoli, toasted ravioli, and arancini from Caponie's. We passed a magic show on the way out. The music was between sets by the time we were close enough hear it. I'm not planning on going back next year if they hold it. It could be an awesome event. At least the weather was nice...

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