From almost the moment it made its debut in October 2001, WTTW’s weekly restaurant review series Check, Please! has been the Chicago public television station’s highest rated local program. Over the course of 12 successful seasons, the show’s host and rotating panel of three “regular people” reviewers have weighed in on almost 450 local eateries, bringing them vastly increased visibility and in most cases, a multitude of new diners – a condition that has become commonly known as “The Check, Please! Effect.” For the past several months, the program has been conducting a well-publicized search for a new host to replace the departing Alpana Singh; the winner will be named on May 29, and will make his/her debut for the 13th season in October 2013. For more, visit checkplease.wttw.com.
In the interest of exposing even more deserving eateries to local diners, for the second consecutive year Check, Please! is partnering with the popular food fest to hand-pick a group of neighborhood restaurateurs that share characteristics of those that have been or might be seen on the show.
During the July 10-14 event, four “Pop-Up” eateries will each be on site for one or two days in a row and an additional Pop-Up booth will be added daily, offering even more dining options. They are scheduled as follows:
July 10 – Riva, Hearty Restaurant, Jin Ju, and Inspiration Kitchen
July 11 – Punky’s Pizza & Pasta, Hearty Restaurant, Pecking Order, and Inspiration Kitchen
July 12 – Punky’s Pizza & Pasta, Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina, Pecking Order, and Heartland Café
July 13 – Austrian Bakery, Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina, Terzo Piano, and Garifuna Flava
July 14 – Austrian Bakery, Kilwin’s Chocolates, Terzo Piano, and Garifuna Flava
“WTTW and our most popular local series Check, Please! are delighted to have a presence at Taste of Chicago again this year,” said VJ McAleer, WTTW’s Senior VP of Production. “We have always sought to engage Chicagoans in the wide variety of dining experiences the city has to offer. Our program’s partnership with this event takes that process one step further, bringing exposure to even more restaurants while giving diners the tactile experience of actually sampling the cuisine,” he added.
Most of the eateries have never before been featured on Check, Please! Among the menu items featured in the Pop-Ups section, located on the east side of Columbus Drive just south of Jackson Boulevard, are the Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich at the Austrian Bakery; Vegetarian Crab Sliders at Karyn’s On Green; Mussaman Beef with Rice (Thai) from Arun’s; Beet and Endive Salad, Roasted Almonds and Raspberry Vinaigrette at the Inspiration Kitchen; and Daeji Kalbi (Korean Pork BBQ) from Jin Ju.
New restaurants participating in the Pop-Ups program this year are: Hearty Restaurant, Punky’s Pizza & Pasta, Pecking Order, Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina, Terzo Piano, and Kilwin’s Chocolates. They will be located on Columbus Drive.
Many new menu items will be available, too, including a Cilantro Garlic Pulled Pork Sandwich from The Hearty Restaurant, Panades From Garifuna Flava, Elotes from Taco Joint, Mini-Lamb Burgers from Terzo Piano and a Garlic Fried Rice Chicken Bowl from Pecking Order.
Pop-Ups accept the same food tickets as five-day restaurants, which are sold on site at six ticket booths in strips of 12 for only $8. Attendees may purchase the tickets in Dominick’s locations for only $7 beginning June 29-July 9; remaining ticket strips sell for $8 when the event opens.
For almost 60 years, audiences have turned to WTTW for distinctive programming that informs, inspires, educates, and entertains. WTTW reaches 1.5 million weekly households over a four-state area, making it the most-watched public television station in America. Recognized for its award-winning local and national productions, WTTW is committed to presenting the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children's programming across its four distinct television channels: WTTW11, WTTW Prime, its Spanish-language channel WTTW V-me, and WTTW Create, its “how-to” channel. For more information, please visit wttw.com.