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Goose Island could add trendy food options at Millennium Park

''The Bean' Millennium Park. File photo.  | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

''The Bean" in Millennium Park. File photo. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 20, 2011 12:31AM

Music lovers attending concerts at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion will have an easier time buying food and drink — and a bigger menu to choose from — under a proposed concession agreement.

Mayor Daley proposed the three-year deal with Goose Island Brewery while presiding over his final City Council meeting.

It calls for the Chicago-based company to sell trendy sandwiches, platters, beer and wine from a large tent set up on a 20-by-80 foot concrete pad east of the Pritzker Pavilion’s 11,000-capacity seating bowl. Picnic tables will be set up on the lawn adjacent to the tent.

Mobile concession carts will also be set up on the perimeter of the lawn where concertgoers who can’t get pavilion seats set up blankets.

Under terms of the agreement, the city will receive 15 percent of revenues generated by Goose Island’s food, wine and non-alcoholic beverage sales and 20 percent of all beer sales. There’s also a minimum annual guarantee of $80,000.

The concession will be open from 5 p.m. until the concert ends on “at least 70” dates, beginning May 23, pending City Council approval.

Last year, Goose Island sponsored a concert series at the Pritzker Pavilion and was given a “special events permit”— without City Council approval — to sell a more limited menu of food and drink on those dates.

This year’s menu is more extensive and the tent will be more elaborate.

It includes: an $8 rotisserie chicken sandwich on a baguette with arugula and roasted peppers; an $8 BBQ pulled pork sandwich; a $7 veggie panini with fresh mozzarella and a $7 veal and pork sausage on a baguette with crunchy cole slaw and citrus mustard.

Also on the menu are ice cream floats, a stuffed cheddar jalapeno pretzel and platters that include either fruit and cheese or hummus, olives and carrots. The concessionaire will sell three kinds of Goose Island specialty beers, Green Line Honkers, Summertime and 312.

“This concession is more substantial than we’ve ever had. It’s really about adding a new amenity for park visitors and creating the best possible experience for people who come to concerts,” said Karen Vaughan, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

“Going to a concert at Millennium Park has become an important tradition in Chicago. Sitting on the lawn. You’re under the skyline. You’ve got this fantastic sound system. To be able to have food and beverage right there just enhances the whole experience. It doesn’t preclude you from bringing your own picnic basket. But if you’re working that day, it might be easier to buy dinner on site.”

Goose Island was chosen by a Cultural Affairs selection committee after a request-for-proposals produced only one other bid: from a joint-venture comprised of JAM Productions, Attitude Adjustment, Inc. and Big Delicious Plan.

Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch, the nation’s largest brewer, announced plans to buy Chicago-based Goose Island for $38.8 million. The concession division was not part of that transaction.

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