AVONDALE — Marlena Ascher has a secret she wants to share, and that secret is Avondale.
"You don't have to be in the main part of [the city] for something cool. Most people, and certainly those outside the area, don't know that [much about Avondale]," said Ascher, founder of the Northwest Arts Connection.
Come June 3, Ascher said she hopes Chicagoans from all over the city will see what the neighborhood has to offer during the third Avondale Restaurant Crawl. The event will provide tastings from more than a dozen Avondale eateries, from miniature shepherd's pie to smoothies.
"It would be easier to plan a sweet little neighborhood festival, but that's not our intent. The whole goal of this is to be a strategic event that becomes a milestone in the journey of having a much larger, well-recognized art and food scene," Ascher said.
The crawl, organized by the NAC, the Avondale Neighborhood Association and the Greater Avondale Chamber of Commerce, will begin at 6 p.m. June 3 at Brands Park, 3249 N. Elston Ave. A trolley will help transport guests to the various clusters of restaurants, while musical acts like the Four Star Brass Band and the Chicago Academy of Music will perform at the park and around the neighborhood.
Tickets are $20 in advance online and $25 at the event and include trolley rides.
Restaurants were free to design their own tastings for the crawl, Ascher said. Some, like Chief O'Neill's, are offering multiple options. The Irish restaurant at 3471 N. Elston St. will have chilled tomato soup with Irish brown bread, a miniature shepherd's pie and watermelon salad shooters. The organic market eSutras, 3333 N. Elston Ave., will offer free tastings of organic and artisan tisanes, superfoods and chocolates.
"We made a very special point this year to get the restaurants more involved, and they're getting more excited as we're getting closer, because they're each thinking about the healthy competition. It's opportune for the guests, because they're going to be making their best," Ascher said.
New to the crawl are the recently opened Parachute, Brew Brew and Fruit Paradise. Ascher said the entertainment — from performing dogs to free caricature portraits — at Brands Park will also be ramped up for the crawl's third year.
Restaurants participating in the crawl include:
- Chief O'Neill's
- Honey Butter Fried Chicken
- eSutras Organics
- Fruit Paradise
- Square Bar & Grill
- Pork Shoppe
- The Beer Temple
- Taqueria Traspasada
- Dragon Lady Lounge
- Burger King
- The Orbit Room
- Brew Brew
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