Taste the difference

January 16, 2019

For the fifth consecutive year Kankakee area resident will have some refuge against the winter blahs.

The 2019 Taste Fest will be hosted by the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday at Northfield Square mall. This is a new venue for Taste Fest, as previous events were held at the Majestic Theatre and Hilton Garden Inn.

Taste Fest is “food tour through Kankankee County one bite at a time” wrote Barbi Brewer-Watson, president and CEO of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce. It’s a collaborative effort among the chamber, Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Daily Journal and Northfield Square.

More than a dozen food and beverage vendors will be on hand to offer their tastes.

Food vendors and their offerings include:

* Brickstone Brewery & Restaurant, of Bourbonnais — chili lime rubbed sauteed shrimp with cilantro.

* Jimmy Jo’s BBQ, of Bourbonnais — beef brisket slammers and pulled pork chili.

* Papi’s Pizza Cafe, of Kankakee — pizza and chopped salad.

* Also, Candy & Cake, of Bradley; Creme of the Crop food truck, Mia Bella’s Pizza, of Herscher; and Sweet Connections, of Kankakee.

Beverage vendors include Brickstone, Blue Ribbon Products, Connect Coffee Roasters, Grapes & Hops, Happy Monday Roasters, Hoppy Pig and Lakeshore Beverage.

General admission for Taste Fest is $25 which gets you a tasting card good for 10 tastes. A VIP ticket is $50 and that gets you access to the VIP room and 15 tastes. Tasting cards will be available at the door, and extra taste cards will also be sold.

Those attending will be able to sample small portions of food from the above local restaurants, as well as craft beer, wine and spirits. Entertainment will be provided by Jason Neuman DJ from 6 to 9 p.m. There will also be a food demonstration from 7 to 7:30 p.m. by Matt Dean from US Foods.

Restaurant Week

Taste Fest is the kickoff for the Kankakee County Restaurant Week 2019 sponsored by the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Restaurant Week is using social media sites, including Twitter and Instagram, with the hashtag, #KaCoRestaurantWeek, for a photo contest.

“With the winter chill dragging, it’s nice to get out and about with family and friends, and what a better way to do that than by supporting your local eateries?!” writes Staci Wilken, executive director of Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau, on its website.

Participating restaurants in #KaCoRestaurantWeek include Brickstone, Flight 102 Wine Bar, The Herscher Restaurant & Pub, Hoppy Pig, Jimmy Jo’s, Locavore Farm, Oliver’s Bar & Grill, Papi’s Pizza, Ryan’s Pier, Slivano’s Pizza, Stefari Cafe, Uptown Grill and Yolks & Berries.

The week-long event runs through Jan. 26, and check in with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to see what the restaurants will be serving. Take a picture of your meal and post it on social media using the hashtag #KaCoRestaurantWeek for a chance to win a prize pack, including a $25 certificate to each Kankakee County Restaurant Week eatery.

In the post say what you’re eating and tag that restaurant in your post. To be eligible, all post must be posted to the KCCVB’s post about the contest. For more information, go to: visitkankakeecounty.com.

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