I know, I know: everyone and their yoga class is doing Whole30 right now, just like they were doing Atkins or South Beach or whatever before. Some of them are feeling great and can’t stop talking about it; others are anxious to get back to familiar food.
Look, if you need or want to do one of these cut-everything diets, more power to you. It may even be good for your health. But if you’re hoping to make it to the Naperville Summer Ale Fest — and who isn’t? — then I recommend you start your diet now so you can be done with it in time for the amazing food trucks that will be there.
’Cause let’s be honest, if you smell one of these trucks in the late afternoon after a couple hours of beer tasting, you’re going to break your diet right then and there.
So, show some discipline and get it done. Then treat yo’self for a day of lovely beers and scrumptious food.
Here’s a quick preview of the 9 food trucks you’ll have to choose from:
Best Truckin’ BBQ
Photo: Best Truckin’ BBQ
This truck’s hand-seasoned, 12 hour-smoked pork and chicken sandwiches has people filling up and going back for more anyways. Not in the mood for a sandwich, but drawn by the scent of that Apple Cider Bourbon BBQ sauce? Try the Cheese Fries with Pork.
What looks good: Everything, so get one pork and one chicken slider to cover your bases.
Chicago Pizza Boss Mobile Pizzeria
Photo: Chicago Pizza Boss
Let this sink in for a second: these guys put a wood-fire pizza oven on a truck. Head to their Facebook page to see them logging 911°F temps in there. Maybe that’s a Photoshop trick, but I know they can get up to 500°F, and I’m not gonna argue with anyone who’s making my pizza in the same truck with that kind of heat.
Now, look, this isn’t Chicago-style; this is pizza Napolitana. Picture a bubbly crust and thin, wide slices of mouthwatering prosciutto or sopressata.
What looks good: the Hell Fire’s Kiss pizza starts with hot sopressata, then adds on Wildfire’s Hell Fire Chili and Roasted Garlic-infused honey. Sounds like something to make you sweat, but honey on a pizza? Gotta try that, right?
VENEZUELAN-INSPIRED LATINO CUISINE
Photo: La Cocinita
This truck shows up just about everywhere in Evanston, and somehow my family often ends up there. I think it’s because they’re an easy pick for kids and adults. Get your kids some chicken or pork tacos, then get a Caribbean Bowl for yourself, which comes with their Crispy Plantain Chips and Spicy Mango-Cilantro Sauce.
What looks good: Like I said, the Caribbean Bowl is tasty and satisfying.
Dark Horse Pastries
BISCUITS AND PASTRIES
Photo: Dark Horse Pastries
You could spend a long time just looking at the pictures of Dark Horse’s beautiful donuts and cakes, but they also make biscuits and biscuit sandwiches that get people raving. If you don’t know what a BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich looks like, this video on Facebook makes it look easy and pretty bloody delicious.
What looks good: Give me a biscuit breakfast sandwich and a cinnamon roll and I may just forget that I came for the beer.
Photo: Grumpy Gaucho
I’ve never had Argentinian empanadas, have you? Well, people love them on Yelp! All you need to know is that empanadas are smallish, so order two or three or even more if you’re hungry. Compared with the Mexican street food we get in the States, expect subtler and more savory flavors — and expect to want more. Don’t forget to order the Chimichurri sauce on the side!
What looks good: I’d start with the BBQ Pork and the Spinach & Ricotta empanadas and work up from there.
Photo: Happy Lobster
When I first heard the words “lobster roll” I was sold without hearing more. Of course, you want your seafood from a place that knows seafood, and the Happy Lobster was started by a guy whose family has been in seafood for a long time. They even made a TimeOut Chicago list of best food trucks.
What looks good: Um, the Lobster Roll, obviously. But I’ll be asking people how they liked the Fried Haddock Sandwich, too.
MODERN ASIAN STREET FOOD
PIKO adds their homemade sauces to traditional Asian street food for an experience that feels both authentic and relevant. Their menu reads a little like an Asian Chipotle: pick your protein, pick your “vehicle,” but they also offer a sampler for people like me who want to try all the things.
What looks good: The PIKO Sampler, which features a chicken taco, a ribeye slider, and a pork belly bao. At least three of those are probably really good.
Yes, that Pinstripes. And, technically, they’ll have a tent rather than a truck, but, hey, that’s still very “fest-y.” They won’t be able to offer all the games associated with their brand of upscale fun for grown-ups, but they’ll have a sampling of their upscale bistro food for grown-ups. This may be your best bet if you still haven’t gotten over getting your food off the back of a truck.
What looks good: Their Chicken Salad Sandwich looks legit, with craisins, scallions, and curry aioli, among other things, but it will be a hard call between that and the Italian Grinder, which has cured Italian meats and giardiniera. As a Chicagoan, I have to at least consider anything with giardiniera.
Photo: Roaming Hog
If you love pork, then you’ve found your tribe at Roaming Hog. Inspired by the animal that gave us bacon, they craft their burgers around international cuisines. How about pork on naan? Or an Asian pork sandwich made with ginger, hoisin sauce, and shallots? Check out this review on Chicago’s Best that will have you driving out to Naperville early to give these guys a try.
What looks good: Chicago’s Best reviewed the Asian Sandwich, and I’d stand in a long line to try that.
Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery
GOURMET GRILLED CHEESE
Photo: Toasty Cheese
No, this isn’t fancy cheese on a stick or anything. It’s fancy grilled cheese sandwiches.
I don’t feel like I need to say a whole lot more about that. If you like cheese, bread, and grilling, like most normal Midwest-raised Americans, you’re probably already sold.
What looks good: You can’t be sure which sandwiches they’ll be making that day, but I’ll be your best friend if you buy me a Pork Belly Shelly. What’s that? It’s this: Gruyére cheese, pork belly, and sweet and sour cabbage topped with Thousand Island dressing and served on seeded rye bread.
On the fifth anniversary of Naperville’s original and biggest beer fest, we’re kicking things up a notch.
For starters, we’re bringing the summer edition of our festival back to beautiful Naper Settlement, and packing it full of over 200 unique American craft beers, live music and food from some of the area’s favorite restaurants and food trucks. With downtown Naperville as a backdrop, it is the ideal setting to experience everything the exciting world of craft beer has to offer.
2017 Naperville Ale Fest
July 15th 2017
VIP: 12:00 – 5:00 pm
General Admission: 1:00 – 5:00 pm