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What to eat in Chow Town, Dessert Island?

Fueling up during Lollapalooza is vital to keep the energy up during the four-day festival, which begins Thursday. Over the years, the festival’s Chow Town, a wide sliver of food and beverage vendors along Columbus Drive, has expanded to include options for a wide variety of dietary needs, serving food to vegans, omnivores, dessert lovers, and everyone in between.

This year’s offerings include the debut of Dessert Island, a specially carved extended space for 19 vendors with sweet treats. There you’ll find donuts, snow cones, desserts, and one of Chicago’s most iconic ice cream shops, the Original Rainbow Cone, located on Van Buren Street near the Bacardi Stage.

In fact, many Chicago staples will be available, including some reputable South Side spots like Mabe’s Sandwich Shop, Josephine’s Southern Cooking, and BJ’s Market. Other Windy City staples are also showing up, such as Harold’s Chicken (with naturally light sauce whips), Cafe Tola, and Fatso’s Last Stand.

Harold’s Chicken will serve the special chicken with fries ($14) or as a five-piece wing ($12) with fries. You can also get a taste of classic Chicago at Billy Goat Tavern, where the original Cheezborger ($8) has a rib eye steak sandwich ($12) and a classic Polish sausage ($7) on the menu.

Café Tola’s wildly popular empanadas ($9) will be topped with poblano peppers, potatoes, and cheese for a meatless option, or take the spiced pork with black beans and cactus; lecon; or vegan coconut curry with Impossible Meat.

Tacotlan, where all menu items are gluten-free, will serve up ever-fashionable quesabirria tacos (3 for $21) and carne asada-topped fries topped with melted cheese, avocado, jalapeños, and queso fresco ($25).

Ponce Restaurant in Humboldt Park is another classic Chicago favorite – steak, pork or veggie jibaritos sandwiches ($18) – served alongside a dish called Puerto Rico in a Cup ($25) that includes chicken kebabs with mofongo, pork, rice, and guavas. will give. BBQ sauce.

430 Lower Michigan Ave.  Double Cheeseburger and Chips was filmed in Chicago on Sunday, September 6, 2020, at the Billy Goat Tavern at

Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free-friendly foods should be readily available, each marked with a colored dot with V, VGT, and GF, respectively.

Among the most intriguing meatless options are Kamehachi’s vegan tofu rice bowl or vegetarian pottery rice bowl (both $14); Cheeseie’s OG and Mac Grilled Cheese Sandwiches; Tandoor Char House’s veggie naan fritters ($14); A vegan Philly cheesesteak ($10) at Mabe’s and a full vegan range, from meatless al pastor tacos ($5) at Healthy Substance, to cucumber ceviche tostada ($9).

For halal foodies, Shawarma Point offers a classic chicken shawarma as a wrap or plate ($15), juicy beef and lamb doner ($15), or fresh falafel ($15). Specializing in Indo-Pakistani fusion, Tandoor Char House also offers halal options. Festive dishes include tikka masala tacos ($6), vegetarian samosa ($4), and chaat fries ($7).

Want to cool off? Sip on a mango ($12) from Esperanza, mango piña, jamaican fresca and green apple lemonade from Aguas Laguneras ($9), and agua fresca assortment of Southern-style frozen pudding from Lorenzo’s.

Lollapalooza also makes it easy for fans to find their favorite bites after the festival is over, with signs indicating which neighborhood or suburb each vendor is in.

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sahmad@chicagotribune.com

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