Every year, we hear from bacon-lovers asking something like, “Baconfest dudes! We need your help!  We know there are three sessions, but we don’t know which one to buy tickets for.  What should we do? How can we choose?”

So, this year, we present a guide to the three sessions of Baconfest to help you make that most harrowing of decisions – which Baconfest session should I go to?

Before that, we should note: General Admission tickets ($100 plus ticketing fees) will be on sale Monday, February 22 at 12:00 noon CST. VIP tickets ($200 each) are already available; VIPs enjoy early access to the event one hour before the general admission crowds arrive.

VIP Tickets [available now] and General Admission tickets [available 2/22] can be purchased here:

http://baconfestchicago.com/ticket

Tickets sell out every year - mark your calendars to BE READY on February 22 at noon central.

Glazed and Infused – Maple Bacon Long John - Baconfest 2015  Flo Cafe & Bar – Hatch Green Chile Bacon Quiche and Bacon Infused Bourbon Bloody Mary Shooter - Baco 17178746696

Baconfest will unfold over THREE exhibition sessions:

  • Saturday Lunch on April 30 - General Admission from 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Saturday Dinner on April 30 – General Admission from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • NEW Sunday Brunch on May 1 (Presented by Jewel-Osco) – General Admission from 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Ticket-holders get access to our bacon wonderland during the session they choose. They’ll also receive a reusable Baconfest shopping bag (sure to be an object of envy at every farmer’s market) and the karmic satisfaction of knowing that a portion of ticket proceeds goes to support the good work of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Last year alone, we raised over $75,000 for the GCFD.

Greater Food Depository check presentation Saturday lunch - Baconfest 2014_400 

Tickets include:
1. Unlimited creative bacon-dishes from an all-star lineup of Chicago chefs (more on them below). Fifty to sixty restaurants/chefs will share their bacon-creations with our guests at each session.

Ara-on Restaurant – Shrimp Ravioli - Baconfest 2015

2. Samples of bacony wares from a curated selection of Sponsors & Experience Partners. Of course, Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats is back as our Bacon Sponsor! Last year, they provided almost four tons of bacon for chefs to use in their dishes. There’ll be fancy Iberico Bacon from the kind people at Wagshal’s Imports. Local sausage king Lance Avery will be serving up Big Fork bacon sausage at all three sessions.

This year, for the first time, we’re delighted to welcome Jewel-Osco as presenting sponsor for our Sunday Brunch session; they’ll be sampling bacon-snacks and bacon-drinks during all three sessions.

3. Seven drink tickets to exchange for ingenious bacon-cocktails, wine and beer.

There’s excitement galore in the booze world at Baconfest.  The newly re-branded Breakthru Beverage (formerly Wirtz Beverage) is assembling a crew of local star-tenders to staff a cocktail mega-station.   Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine will make a triumphant return to Baconfest, as will wine from Candid Wines and mixed vodka drinks from Tito’s.

As always, we’ll have an assortment of frosty beers on-hand at all three sessions,  including brews from Goose Island Beer CompanyOld StylePabst Blue RibbonLagunitas Brewing CompanyLabatt BlueRevolution Brewing Company, and Lakefront Brewery.   Smeraldina Water will keep you hydrated and our coffee partner High Brew Coffee will keep you caffeinated (no tickets required for water, soda or coffee).

Photo by Anne Petersen. http://flickr.com/photos/opacity

But how! How will you choose between the three sessions?   First – each session has a completely different line-up of chefs.  Cast your eyes to the bottom of this post and you’ll see the rosters for each session.  Choose the one that features your favorite restaurant.

Still not sure which session to pick?  We’ve got session-specific cocktail pairings to look forward to:

Saturday Lunch will feature TIKI drinks! Plus, there’ll be a Saturday Lunch-only cocktail from Danny Shapiro of Sink | Swim.

Saturday Dinner will highlight the pleasure of the Old Fashioned.  Longtime partner Templeton Rye will present an Old Fashioned Bar where you can try different interpretations of this boozy favorite including traditional, maple bacon, and a third variation still under development!

Sunday Brunch, being brunch, is Bloody Mary Time! We’ll have a bank of Bloody Mary stations each featuring different mixes and booze options to let you explore this drink in all it garnished glory. Try Bacon Bloody Mary’s from Cicero Beverage Co.; Bakon Vodka Bloody’s, tangy samples from Zing-Zang and a  host of other Bloody options.

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Finally, if you still don’t know which session to pick, consider the themes. We’ve assigned each session a broad theme based on some of the key elements of the bacon-making process:

  • Saturday Lunch – SWEET
  • Saturday Dinner – SMOKE
  • Sunday Brunch – HEAT

We’re encouraging chefs to riff on the session themes with dishes / station decoration that playfully reflect them. Will every dish at Saturday Lunch be sweet?  No!  But there may be a few more sweet elements on the menu and you may see chefs dressed up as sugar lumps.  We’ll give a special Golden Rasher award to the restaurants at each session that connect playfully with the theme.

Without further ado, we are most pleased to release the shift breakdown for our participating restaurants.

SATURDAY LUNCH 4/30
Cooking Channel VIP Hour – 11:00am-12:00pm
General Admission – 12:00pm-3:00pm

Theme: SWEET
Featured Cocktail: TIKI

AUTRE MONDE CAFE & SPIRITS – Andrew Kerns

BACARO – Drew Starkey

BANG BANG PIE SHOP – Patrick Cloud (* 2014 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

BISTRO CAMPAGNE – Adam Dittmer

BURGER BAR CHICAGO – John McLean

BUSY BURGER – Joe Devito

CANTINA 1910 – Andrew Pingul

CARNIVALE – Rodolfo Cuadros

CHICAGO q – Ian Thompson

FLO AND SANTOS – Mark Rimkus

FORK – Timothy Cottini

GUILDHALL RESTAURANT – Marcos Ascencio

HONEY BUTTER FRIED CHICKEN – Joshua Kulp & Christine Cikowski (* 2015 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

HUBBARD INN – Matt Wilde

HUTCH AMERICAN BISTRO – Marc Wuenschel

INSPIRATION KITCHENS – Greg Darrah

JAKE MELNICK’S CORNER TAP – Nick Santangelo

JELLYFISH – Hector Marcial

JERK. MODERN JAMAICAN GRILL – Dion Solano

KITTY O’SHEA’S – Mario Garcia

KNIFE – Tim Cottini

KUMA’S CORNER – Dan Grynevich

LAGUNITAS TAPROOM – Robert Chamberlain

LE BOUCHON & LA SARDINE – Oliver Poilevey & Scott Jambrosek

LOCKWOOD RESTAURANT at the Palmer House – Mathew Wiltzius (* 2013 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

LOKaL – Artur Wnorowski

MASTRO’S STEAKHOUSE – Anthony Bernal

MAY ST. CAFE – Mario Santiago

MEXIQUE – Carlos Gaytan

MISS RICKY’S – Rebecca LaMalfa

MITY NICE BAR & GRILL – John Chiakulas (* 2014 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

OLD TOWN POUR HOUSE – Paul Katz

OLD TOWN SOCIAL – Corderro Miller

PEARL’S SOUTHERN COMFORT – Dan Finelli

PECKISH PIG – Debbie Evans

PIECE – Bill Jacobs & Charlie Springer

PLEASANT HOUSE BAKERY – Art and Chelsea Jackson

PROSECCO – Mark Sparacino

SHEEKAR DELIGHTS – Diane Khouri Joseph

SLURPING TURTLE – Takashi Yagihashi (* 2015 Award for Most Creative Use of Bacon)

SOCIALE CHICAGO – Mark Sabbe

SPACCA NAPOLI – Jonathan Goldsmith

SPARROW COFFEE – Chris Chacko

STANLEY’S KITCHEN AND TAP

STOUT BARREL HOUSE & GALLEY – Michael Matthews

TABLE, DONKEY & STICK – Scott Manley

THE COTTON DUCK – Dominic Zumpano

TROQUET RIVER NORTH – Tim Davidson

WEST TOWN BAKERY & DINER – Chris Teixeira

WHISK – Ricardo Rodriguez

WOLLENSKY’S GRILL – Victor Newgren

WORLD OF WHIRPOOL – Ender Oktayuren

WOW BAO

ZOOM PIZZA FACTORY – Paul Guerrero

SATURDAY DINNER 4/30
Cooking Channel VIP Hour – 6:00pm-7:00pm
General Admission – 7:00pm-10:00pm

Theme: SMOKE
Featured Cocktail: OLD-FASHIONED

312 CHICAGO – Luca Corazzina

676 RESTAURANT AND BAR – Anthony Herve (* 2012 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

AMAZING EDIBLES CATERING – Alexi Mandolini

ARA-ON RESTAURANT – Trevor Hoyte

ATWOOD – Brian Millman (* 6 year BFC VET)

BANG CHOP – Matt Riordan

BLACK DOG GELATO – Jessica Oloroso

BourBonQue – Kevin Whittier

BRIDGE HOUSE TAVERN – Mark Hemmer

DAVID BURKE’S PRIMEHOUSE – Amanda Warren (* 8 year BFC VET)

EDZO’S BURGER SHOP – Eddie Lakin

EL MARIACHI TEQUILA BAR & GRILL – Eduardo Hermenegildo

FARMHOUSE – Eric Mansavage (* 2014 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

FLO CAFE & BAR – Leonard Sanchez

FLORIOLE – Sandra Holl and Emily Spurlin

GAYLE’S BEST EVER GRILLED CHEESE – Gayle Voss

GINGERSNAP SWEETS & SUCH – Jen Templeton

GLAZED AND INFUSED – Chris White

HASH HOUSE A GO GO – Brad Gold

JORDAN’S FOOD OF DISTINCTION – Jordan Spritz

KNIFE & TINE – Paul Caravelli (* 2015 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

LINKS TAPROOM – Cary Michael

MADDY’S DUMPLING HOUSE – Chrissy Camba

MARION STREET MARKET – Bret Bohning

MONTI’S – James Gottwald

MORE – Patty Rothman

MOXEE RESTAURANT – Rob Stromm

NaanSense – Hiran Patel & Sahil Singh

NANA – Jeremy Kiens

OSTERIA LANGHE – Cameron Grant (* 2015 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

PARAMOUNT ROOM – Stephen Dunne

PERENNIAL VIRANT – Paul Virant & Ed Sura

PINSTRIPES – Cesar Gutierrez

PIZZA BARRA – Chris Macchia

PLUSH HORSE ICE CREAM SHOPPE (TINLEY PARK) – Mary Ellen Rydberg

PORKCHOP – Kenneth Robinson

PUBLIC HOUSE – Amy Arnold

RED DOOR – Troy Graves (* 8 year BFC VET, 2009 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

REVOLUCION STEAKHOUSE – Alberto Mendez

ROCKIT BAR & GRILL/ROCKIT BURGER BAR – Amanda Downing

RURAL SOCIETY at Lowes Chicago Hotel – Cory Morris

SALERO – Ashlee Aubin

STAN’S DONUTS – Rich Labriola

SUNDA – Jess De Guzman

TACO JOINT – Edgar Torres

THE ASHBURN at Lowes Chicago O’Hare Hotel – Brian Wolters

THE BAD APPLE – Craig Fass (* 2015 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

THE DAWSON – Shaun King

THE MONKEY’S PAW – Rahjan Shabazz

THE RADLER – Nathan Sears (* 8 year BFC VET, 2011 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

THREE ACES – Matt Troost (* 2012 & 2013 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

TRAVELLE – Scott Green

VANILLE PATISSERIE – Stacy Waldrop

VINCENT – Adam Grandt

SUNDAY BRUNCH 5/1
Presented by Jewel-Osco
Cooking Channel VIP Hour – 11:00am-12:00pm
General Admission – 12:00pm-3:00pm

Theme: HEAT
Featured Cocktail: BLOODY MARY

694 WINE & SPIRITS – Chris Dunstatter

AVIVA RESTAURANT & PEDERSON’S NATURAL FARMS – Bubba Frank

BALLARO – Mark Newman

BARN & COMPANY – Gary Wiviott

BOTTLEFORK – Kevin Hickey / Evan Packer

CANTINA LAREDO – Hector Rivera

CEMITAS PUEBLA – Antonio Anteliz

COCONUTZ – Sean Welker

COMMUNITY TAVERN – Joey Beato

Creative CONEcepts – Turon Cummings

DINE RESTAURANT – Kevin Harkin

E+O FOOD AND DRINK – Rodelio Aglibot

FIRECAKES – Jonathan Fox

FIREFLY GRILL – Niall D. Campbell II

FREEHAND CHICAGO (Broken Shaker + Café Integral) – Jonathan Meyer

FREESTYLE FOOD + DRINK – Geordan Stenson

FRONTIER – Brian Jupiter

HEARTH RESTAURANT – John “Woody” Linton

HOMEMADE SIN BAKERY – Paige Tyler

HOWELLS & HOOD – Brett Neubauer

IMPERIAL LA MIAN – Andy Foo

ITALIAN VILLAGE RESTAURANTS – Jose Torres

KAISER TIGER – Pat Berger

LAGUNITAS TAPROOM – Robert Chamberlain

MERCAT A LA PLANXA – Evan Behmer

MICHAEL JORDAN’S STEAKHOUSE – Craig Couper

NONNA SANTI’S BISCOTTI – Jo-Marie Frigo

OSTERIA LA MADIA – Jonathan Fox

PADDY LONG’S – Patrick Berger & Chris Latchford (* 7 year BFC VETS)

PORK & MINDY’S – Jeff Mauro

REVOLUTION BREWING – Charlie Eure

RIVER VALLEY FARMER’S TABLE – Jordan Rose

SEEDLING FRUIT – Peter Klein

SIGNATURE ROOM – Cardel Reid (* 8 year BFC vet restaurant, 2010 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

SMACK DAB CHICAGO – Christine Forster

SMYLIE BROTHERS BREWING CO. – Grant Carey

SOUTH WATER KITCHEN – Roger Waysok (* 6 year BFC VET, 2010 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

STK CHICAGO – Nicolas Cabrera

TACO IN A BAG – Tim “Gravy” Brown and Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti

THE BRIXTON – Alex (Jethro) Gialanella

THE CHOP SHOP – Nick Moretti

THE DUCK INN – Kevin Hickey

UNCLE BUB’S BBQ – Kyle VerVynck

UNTITLED SUPPER CLUB – Bryan Collante

VIE – Brian Motyka (* 8 year BFC VET Restaurant, 2015 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

WOODHAVEN BAR & KITCHEN – Zachary Prince

ZED451 – Andrea Williams – (* 2012 Golden Rasher Award Winner)

The line-ups are subject to change, but we don’t expect much fluctuation.

  • February 9, 2016