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NOSH Your Way Through A New Summer Food Festival

By Melissa Wiley in Food on Jul 12, 2013 6:20PM

2013_7_12_Nosh.png Farmers markets are lovely. Only they lack a little in instant gratification. That fresh asparagus, it goes without saying, doesn’t cook itself. Feeling peckish but still want to meander through some tented stalls out of doors? Enter The NOSH at Wicker Park, a new outdoor food festival beginning this Saturday, July 13 and running every Saturday through October. It’s a (small “t”) Taste of Chicago without the crowds and wrist bands. We spoke with founder Alan Kannof about Nosh and why he thinks Chicago needs another food market.

"NOSH is completely food focused," Kannof explains. Unlike markets like Dose or Fete (which mix fashion and food), "we are hosting a combination of established restaurants and what I refer to as 'new food entrepreneurs' — people who are in those early stages of opening a business. That's who I want to pursue in this market."

Taking place at the A.N. Pritzker School playground on the corner of Damen and Evergreen from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the festival is set to host more than 20 artisan vendors. Inaugural viands will include seasoned lobster rolls from Da Lobsta, cumin-braised pulled lamb sandwiches from Mr. Spanky’s, famed First Slice pies, and an assortment of Mexican specialties from Mixteco Grill.

Another thing that sets it apart from other markets? This one has no admission cost, and Kannof has asked vendors to keep prices low. "I've tried to ask the vendors to each do 3-4 items and to try to keep the items under $10, with at least one thing $5 or under. Part of my philosophy is to have a market that encourages the public to come and sample from a bunch of different vendors rather than a meal from one person."

The eventual goal for Kannof is for NOSH to become a permanent market with regular vendors. "I want it to become a real Chicago food destination. I want people to feel like they can come and have a sense of what's going to be there and have some favorites — I want some consistency." For the first week, they'll have approximately 20 vendors, as some potential partners are also working with Taste of Chicago. That should ramp up to 30 over the next few weeks.

"I really want this to be a market that supports new food entrepreneurs and provides an opportunity for people to get out there and develop a following," Kannof explains. Sounds delicious to us.

Additional reporting by Anthony Todd.