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Taste of Chicago Nets First Profit in Six Years

By Alex Parker | September 29, 2013 12:45pm
 Newcomer Taco Joint cooked up tacos for the Taste of Chicago preview.
Newcomer Taco Joint cooked up tacos for the Taste of Chicago preview.
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DNAinfo/Jackie Kostek

CHICAGO — For the first time since 2007, Taste of Chicago earned a profit, the mayor's office said Sunday.

The mayor's office cited top-level music acts, added features like food trucks and famous chefs, and a shorter time period for the festival's success in 2013. Taste of Chicago netted $272,000 in profit, an estimated $106 million in business for the local economy, more the $2.35 million in tax reciepts, and support more than 1,100 jobs, according to a press release.

“We revamped the Taste to bring new food options, including food trucks and internationally-renowned chefs and music from chart-topping acts to attract people from all over the world to our city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I am pleased to see that the Taste is proving to be popular, with higher attendance this year and its first profit since 2007. The Taste is a great event that has far-reaching economic impact on our city and I am pleased that we continue to put on an outstanding week of activities.”

Attendance at Taste had been on the decline, dropping from 2.35 million in 2011 to 1.25 million in 2012, igniting concerns over how the city should move forward with the money-losing festival as it grappled with budget concerns.

But with pop star Robin Thicke and rock legend Robert Plant headlining the music portion of the five-day festival, Taste drew 1.5 million people, a 25-percent increase from 2013, the Associated Press reported.

The festival jumped on the city's food-truck craze, though some food-truck supporters were vexed by the city's fee, requiring vendors to hand over 25 percent of their earnings. Pop-up restaurants and food trucks paid no application fee, but paid more to the city than their brick-and-mortar competitors.

Sixty-five restaurants participated in this year's event.