Wheeling Taste of the Town
Growing up in Northbrook, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for restaurants in Chicago’s north shore. I grew up running around the warehouse-style space at Bob Chin’s, attending Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s at Bucca Di Beppo, and most recently celebrating my bridal shower at Cooper’s Hawk. These three restaurants along with nearly two-dozen others from Wheeling’s restaurant row along with other north shore favorites are part of the Taste of the Town event happening this Wednesday, September 14.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Taste of the Town committee members, Frank D’Angelo, general manager of Tuscany and Scott Berman, the owner of Superdawg to get the full lowdown on this suburban foodie fest. Scott and Frank each agreed that the Taste of the Town is different than some of the other larger outdoor Chicago food festivals, due to its very local feel. On top of being affordable, (only $35 in advance or $45 at the door), Taste of the Town will be emceed by Carey Smolensky of Storm Interactive Entertainment and will feature live interactive musical entertainment and a live art auction spotlighting the works of Elliott From, the International Expressionist Speed Painter of Art Beat Live.
“Instead of restaurants just featuring a dish they can do in mass quantities, Taste of the Town allows restaurants to serve and plate the signature dish their restaurant is really famous for,” said Scott. “And because it’s a shorter and smaller event, restaurants are able to bring their full-time staff, who understand fully how the dishes should look and taste.”
Both Frank and Scott have been involved with the event since 2014 and believe in the importance of having their restaurants be more than just a local business, but a true member of the community. Frank’s favorite part of the event is seeing all the familiar faces and people involved in the Wheeling/Prospect Heights community and friends from all over the north shore. “The servers are excited to be there and it shows. It’s a fun outing for them as well, to get out of the restaurant for the evening and see all their industry friends and regular customers.” Frank and Scott both expressed how supportive the Village of Wheeling is of restaurant row and the event itself.
After our chat, I also got a behind-the-scenes tour of Wheeling’s Superdawg, an almost exact replica of the original Chicago location that Scott’s parents opened in 1948. I remember driving down to the original location with friends in high school, so I was super excited to see the inner-workings of this Chicago institution. From the perfectly crispy fries, to the snap of the caseless all-beef hotdog and perfectly steamed buns, Superdawg has their food down to a science. Both Jeremy and I may or may not have had both a hot dog, hamburger and cheese fries that day…
Last year the Taste of the Town event sold out, so buy your tickets in advance here! If you can’t attend, be on the lookout for a follow up post after the event with photos of all of the delicious offerings.