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This Year's Taste Of Chicago Free Of Turkey Legs

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jun 22, 2012 2:00PM

Photo Credit: deep blue skies

What would Taste of Chicago be without giant turkey legs? We're going to find out as this year's edition, on top of all the other changes already in place, will be without one of its more enduring and popular food items.

Tim McGivern, who's the man behind the turkey legs since the early days of Taste, said he's taking this year off to tend to some nagging health issues. The 63-year-old McGivern is having knee and back surgery soon. Still he said it wasn't an easy decision.

"“I almost pulled the plug last year, and didn’t, and I paid for it physically. But you know, it’s very enjoyable. When you’re really cranking and you’re doing well (in sales), it’s like being involved in a ballgame you’re winning."

McGivern first introduced the turkey legs at taste in 1981 when he owned Great Godfrey Restaurant in Skokie. He later partnered with Helen's Restaurant and later Manny's Deli to keep the signature item at the festival after Great Godfrey closed.

The barbequed turkey legs have become both an iconic image and a source of derision for critics of the festival.