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Eateries provide sampling for Taste of Chicago

The 2013 Taste Chicago featured eight restaurants variety food Daley PlazTuesday. June 18 2013. | Alex Wroblewski~Sun-Times

The 2013 Taste of Chicago featured eight restaurants and a variety of food at Daley Plaza on Tuesday. June 18, 2013. | Alex Wroblewski~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 19, 2013 8:10AM

Eight restaurant booths set up Tuesday in Daley Plaza served up an array of saliva-inducing plates to visitors craving a sampling of this year’s Taste of Chicago offerings.

There was a range of tasty choices: pulled pork sandwiches doused in barbecue sauce, chopped salad, chocolate dipped strawberries, deep dish pizza and meatball sliders.

“Look,” said Pazzo’s Cucina Italiana’s president Rocky Aiyash, who is participating in the Taste for a second year. “It’s a marketing opportunity and that’s how we look at it. But if we make money, and we did last year, that’s great too.”

The Taste of Chicago will be July 10-July 14 in Grant Park.

The Taste of Chicago used to be a 10-day affair until 2012, when the city scaled it back to five days.

“We didn’t participate before because 10 days is too long, its taxing on your employees and overall quality,” Aiyash said.

Taste of Chicago manager Mary Slowik said she also likes a shorter festival.

“It’s more manageable for the city, and the citizens,” Slowik said. “We’re not closing down traffic for as long either.”

Profits at the festival were down in 2012. The city lost money, organizers said. But hopes are high that new attractions and good weather will boost profits this time around.

The festivities feature a “pop-up” program for smaller restaurants to participate for two days, instead of the full five. There will be food trucks around the concert venue, new restaurants and several big name performers, including Fun and Robin Thicke.

The festival is open 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. July 10 through July 12 and 10 a.m. -9 p.m. July 13 and 14.

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