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Rock 'n' Bowles

Lollapalooza's new food czar is turning the fest into a gourmet destination, one booth at a time.
Monday Jul 26, 2010.     By Ben Rubenstein
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Graham Elliot Bowles
The title "rockstar chef" gets thrown around a lot these days, but Graham Elliot Bowles is a culinary superstar who really deserves it. Not only does the creative force behind Graham Elliot (and the forthcoming Grahamwich) actually play guitar, he also lives a rockin' lifestyle, from the constant tunes playing in his restaurant to the many shows he attends; check his Twitter feed for evidence of his over-the-top personality and penchant for outlandish outfits.

Bowles' latest gig? Culinary director at Lollapalooza 2010. Building off the success of his gourmet offerings at last year's fest (lobster corndogs, anyone?), the chef gathered together some of the finest dining spots in the city to serve grub that promises to be several steps above the soggy gyros rock fans have come to expect. Here, Bowles gives Centerstage a taste of what's on the bill.

What was your process in choosing restaurants for the fest? How much of it was based on your choice and how much on the fan voting?
We wanted to choose restaurants that were independent and shared a similar passion for music. When it came time to choose, we were psyched to see that a large number of our choices were the same as what the fans had voted for.

Name the perfect food pairing for some Lolla artists.
I'm not sure what particular food they'd like, but I'd love to see Kuma's Corner make something for Soundgarden, The Southern make a dish for Drive By Truckers, and Blue 13 create a dish for Social Distortion.

What will you be serving this year at your booth?
Lobster Corndog with Lemon Aioli
Truffled Popcorn with Parmesan and Black Pepper
Watermelon Gazpacho (vegan)

Which bands are you most looking forward to this year?
MGMT, Chromeo, The Temper Trap ... and of course, Lady Gaga.

You've said that many of the bands on the Lollapalooza bill are often playing on your restaurant sound system. How does music help inform/inspire your cooking?
We are equally passionate about music and food and they both go hand in hand at our restaurant. Sometimes we get inspired by bands that are doing things just to be different as they help us think outside of the box. Other times we just wanna listen to something we can tap our foot to, or bands that help us rock out and get through the busy push.


Explore More

Bars & Clubs

Brand-New Bars

Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

New Restaurants

New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.

What's Happening Today
  • Jet's Public House
    $2 domestic bottles and well drinks
  • Tuman's
    $3 Bellís Seasonal and Point Pale Ale drafts, $5 half-pound burger with hand-cut fries
  • Dolce
    $5 off bottles of wine
  • Streeter's Tavern
    $10 domestic pitchers, $3 domestic drafts, $5 Smirnoff lemonades, Captain and colas, and shot of Cuervo
  • Crew
    $3.50 Goose Island Seasonal pints, $2 cans of PBR
  • Lokal
    $8-$10 vodka flights