If I could eat nothing but corn dogs for the rest of my life, I would. Alas, the world at large doesn't share my reverence for carnival food, which is why Pitchfork's unorthodox fest fare has become so unanimously beloved. This year's event boasts 16 vendors—most of them local—each with a unique spin on the festival carbo-load. Options range from vegan and gluten-free to smothered in whiskey and bacon, and without a second stomach or small fortune, you won't get to try them all. Some atherosclerotic highlights below.
Chicago Diner's vegan fried cheesecake
New from the veggie diner and exclusively at Pitchfork is this chocolate-chip cheese cake, fried, covered in ganache, and ready to induce 18,000 food comas.
Also available: gyros, Philly cheese steak sandwiches, portobello burgers, corn dogs, waffle/cheese fries, and country-fried bacon and gravy (all vegan).
Porkchop's rib tips
Dry rubbed, slow smoked, and covered in bourbon sauce. Definitely not vegan.
Also available: pulled pork sliders, pulled chicken sliders, and mac & cheese.
Dia De Los Tamales's "Nachomale"
Described by Dia De Los themselves as "essentially a pile of loaded nachos…topped with your choice of tamale"—quite literally food on food.
Also available: Cuban pork tamales, buffalo chicken tamales, roasted pepper & goat cheese tamales, and black bean & corn tamales (all gluten free).
Black Dog Gelato's whiskey bacon bars
As if whiskey gelato weren't a beautiful enough invention, Black Dog freezes it into bars, dips it in chocolate, and rolls it through bacon. Squee.
Also available: sea salt caramel cones, chocolate stout cones, blood orange sorbet cones, and vanilla root beer floats.
Bacci Pizzeria's jumbo slices
Served with pepperoni, sausage, cheese, or veggies for the fest-food traditionalist.
Chubby Wieners' Backyard Wiener
Another Pitchfork exclusive, this 100% beef dog is topped with potato salad, bacon, and chipotle aïoli. Not to be eaten before a DJ set.
Also available: Chicago-style wieners and veggie-dogs, corn dogs, and cheese fries.
The Rice Table's ayam bakar
An Indonesian spin on barbecue chicken: One leg and one thigh marinated in sweet soy sauce and served on white rice.
Also available: the Krakatoa (an Indonesian pork sandwich), the Bromo (an Indonesian tofu sandwich), bakmie goreng (egg noodles), and a variety plate with the lot of it.
Estrella Negra's sweet potato churro fries
A churro taste with a sweet-potato base, infused with vanilla and cinnamon and topped with agave nectar. Unfortunately available to only VIPs, but worth enlisting a smuggler for.
Also available: chips and salsa, spinach/artichoke tamales, corn kernel tamales, pork tamales, three-cheese spinach/artichoke empanadas, chorizo/corn empanadas, and goat cheese/jalapeño empanadas.
Robinson's Creole jambalaya
The barbecue standby's newest Pitchfork item blends smoked chicken, andouille sausage, veggies, rice, cajun spices, and hot Creole sauce.
Also available: pork, chicken, and brisket nachos; pork, chicken, rib, and brisket sandwiches; polish sausages; cheese nachos; and fries.
Big Delicious Planet's fish tacos
Pitchfork's foremost pescatarian option: Lime & cilantro–marinated mahi on corn tortillas topped with chipotle cream, salsa, and cabbage.
Also available: Thai beef tacos, chipotle chicken tacos, and Greek vegetarian/vegan boxes (salads, cous cous, pita, etc.).
That Chance the Rapper beer
Or not. My colleagues' vanilla-at-best consensus, here.
Also available: Blue Line, Sofie, Matilda, Ogden, St. Genevieve, Fulton St. Blend, The Muddy, Honker's Ale, Green Line, 312 Radler, 312 Wheat, and 312 IPA.