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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, August 18

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Event Thu Apr 16 2015

Your Baconfest Weekend Primer


If there is one thing I always say, it's that "I just can't get enough of those smoked meats!"

This is the reason why I've been an attendee at two out of the last three Baconfest Chicago's weekend extravaganzas. I consider myself, as the Baconfest people say, part of the "Bacon Nation." If you're like me, then you are all jazzed up for this weekend's Baconfest Chicago. If you don't have tickets yet, they are still available for Friday night's dinner (and you might be able to score tickets to Saturday's sold-out lunch or dinner on Craigslist. People of the Bacon Nation sometimes can't make it out for the event and prices are generally fair--we did this for one of our tickets in 2013.)

Never been before? Here are some tips and tricks to surviving your first Baconfest:

If you can afford it, spring for the VIP tickets
The crowds are mighty at the event and the VIP ticket gives you a one hour head start on the teeming throngs.

Don't eat much the day before or the day of
Of course, this goes without saying. Baconfest is a gluttonous experience and you don't want to walk into the Saturday dinner session stuffed from your huge brunch three hours before. Eat light before and after.

Plan your visit in advance
There is such a thing as too much bacon. If you take a look at the restaurants in advance, you can mark your map (while you're waiting in line to get in) and visit the places you most want to try first, so you're not full by the time you find them. Then, you can also go in order by how the event is arranged.

Get there early
The Bacon Nation is an excited bunch, y'all. There will be a long line outside the Forum at least an hour before. Get there early for best access to your favorite smoked meat snacks.

If you don't like it, don't eat it all
There's no reason to finish something you're not totally into--the chefs won't be offended. Just walk away and discreetly place the uneaten portion in one of the many garbage cans.

Pace yourself
You don't need to rush around and eat ALL THE BACON in a half hour. The event goes for three, so pace yourself. Wander around, chat with your friends and get a cocktail or a water. The bacon will still be there in five.

Bacon is salty and you will receive seven drink tickets. Don't make the mistake of drinking all of your beers or cocktails as the sole beverages in between bacony treats. Hydrate before you go and try to have a bottled water (or six) in there somewhere.

Wear a bacon or meat-related shirt
Lots of people will be wearing their favorite bacon gear. If you have a meat or bacon-related shirt, wear it. You will make loads of new friends if it's uncommon or clever.

Wear comfortable shoes
I can't stress this enough. When you're racing from table to table, across the length of the UIC Forum, cramming your face full of bacon, you need your footwear to be on point. This is no time for your cute wedges or your baddest motorcycle boots. Have a little humility and put on those cross trainers. You'll be glad you did.

Shower when you get home
I made the mistake of not doing this my first year and woke up with bacon-scent wafting from my hair and pores. Showering helps cut down on the delicious bacon smell following you around when you get back.

Lay off the bacon for a while after
You will want to, trust me.

Baconfest Chicago is this weekend at the UIC Forum at 725 W. Roosevelt Road. Tickets are available on their Eventbrite site. General Admission Hours are Friday Dinner: 7 - 10 p.m.; Saturday Lunch: 12-3 p.m. and Saturday Dinner: 7-10 p.m. VIPs get in our hours prior to general admission hours. Note that both VIP and General Admission are sold out for Saturday's lunch and dinner sessions. Check out more information, including scheduled restaurants for each meal on Baconfest Chicago's website or their Facebook page.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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