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WTTW’s Check, Please! partners with Taste of Chicago

For the third consecutive year, the Emmy-winning local restaurant review series helps to select 13 more “Pop-Up” eateries for the downtown food festival

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - June 9, 2014

From almost the moment it made its debut in the autumn of 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 13 successful seasons, the show’s host and rotating panel of three “regular people” reviewers have weighed in on almost 500 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.” Season 13 saw the arrival of a vibrant new host, Catherine De Orio, selected after a well-publicized online search process.  For more on Catherine and the series, visit

In the interest of exposing even more deserving eateries to local diners, for the third 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; most of this year’s eateries have never before been featured.

During the July 9-13 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 (denotes NEW to the Pop-Up program this year):

  • July 9 –   Jin Ju, Mayan Sol Latin Grill, Brasserie by LM, Restaurant Venemo de Nayarit
  • July 10 – Jin Ju, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee, Brasserie by LM, and Punky’s Pizza & Pasta
  • July 11 – Riva, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee, Kamehachi, and Punky’s Pizza & Pasta
  • July 12 – Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina, Sol de Mexico, Kamehachi, and Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize
  • July 13 – Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina, Brazilian Bowl Grill, Mama Mia, and Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize

“WTTW and our most popular local series Check, Please! are honored to take part in 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.

Menu items featured in the Pop-Ups section, located on the east side of Columbus Drive just south of Jackson Boulevard, are:

  • Brasserie LM – Beet/Apple Gaspacho with Ginger & Lemon, Spicy Marguez Sausage on French Baguette with Dijon and Homemade Relish, and Croque Monsieur Sandwich (Ham, Swiss, Bechamel, Dijon)
  • Brazilian Bowl Grill – Feijoada (national dish of Brazil), Acai Bowl, and Empanadas (Beef, Cheese, or Coxinha)
  • Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize – Panades, Jerk Chicken with Rice & Beans & Plantain, and Fried Ripe Plantain
  • Jin Ju – Bulgogi, Daeji Kalbi, Chap Chae, and Kimchi
  • Kamehachi – Crunchy California Roll (Crab, Avocado, Cucumber, Tempura Crunch), Rock Shrimp Tempura, and Yakiniku (Grilled Beef Skewers)
  • Mama Mia – Rigatoni Alla Vodka, Chicken Fingers w/ Marinara, and Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Mayan Sol Latin Grill – Empanadas Colombianas, Chuchitos, and Rellenitos
  • Punky's Pizza & Pasta – Eggplant Parmigiana Sandwich, Italian Sausage Sandwich, and Fried Ravioli
  • Restaurant Veneno de Nayarit – Langostinos and Chapuzon
  • Riva – Seafood Gumbo, Cajun Shrimp Boil, and Fish & Chips
  • Sol de Mexico – Crispy Chicken Tacos, Creamy Chipotle Mushroom Tacos, and Taco de Chicken Leg Grilled with Rice and Mole Sauce
  • Stan’s Donuts & Coffee – Peanut Butter Pocket
  • Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina – Elotes, Chicken Barbacoa, Beef Machaca, and Churro Donut

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 $8.50 (includes $2 charge for Taste amenities).  Smaller “Taste of” portions are available at each food vendor and are between 1-5 tickets.  Ticket sales end at 8:30 pm. 

WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!, and MEXICO – One Plate at a Time, WTTW presents the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children’s programming to almost 2 million weekly viewers across a four state area. WTTW is unique in its commitment to serving the children in our community, with half of its weekday broadcast schedule devoted to educational and non-commercial content. Visitors to can connect with others in the community and access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, interactive features, event and membership opportunities, and robust microsites dedicated to WTTW and PBS series and specials.