By now, you’ve probably heard about Chicago Food Planet’s brand new Lincoln Park Food Tour. And, you may have wondered how Chicago Food Planet goes about creating new tours, and how they choose the neighborhoods and restaurants. We sat down with founder Shane Kost, and asked him a few questions about the new Lincoln Park Food Tour, and about food and Chicago in general.
Q: You already have three successful tours. Why’d you decide to add a fourth?
A: We thought it was important to offer a shorter [2 hours] and cheaper [$35 for adults; $25 for kids 8-12; $15 for kids 7 or younger] Food Tour option. We know a lot of people are interested in Chicago Food Planet Food Tours, but due to either timing and/or budget constraints, they can’t fit our Food Tours into their itinerary. The Lincoln Park Food Tour offered us a great opportunity to connect not only with customers in those situations, but also our previous customers who are always excited about the new Food Tours we offer.
Q: How’d you go about choosing Lincoln Park? What was it about the neighborhood that drew you in?
A: Lincoln Park was the first neighborhood that I ever lived in when I moved to Chicago in 2001. So in a way, it’s like going back home. I’ve really enjoyed watching Chicago Food Planet come full circle from where my first Chicago dining experiences started and now offering a Food Tour in a neighborhood that is so near and true to my heart.
Q: That’s a great story. Tell us more!
A: Back in 2001, my first apartment was near Armitage and Sheffield, which is where the Lincoln Park Food Tour ends. One of my fondest memories during those days was going to Chicago Bagel Authority several times a week. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the people, the food and the owner, Greg. It’s great to see things go full circle and now bring our Chicago Food Planet customer to Chicago Bagel Authority after more than a dozen years of being a customer myself!
Q: What, in your opinion, makes the Lincoln Park food tour unique?
A: We’re able to hit the Chicago “all-star” food groups, including stuffed pizza, cupcakes, popcorn, chocolate and donuts — all foodie favorites for Chicagoans and all of which have deep roots and origins within Chicago. It’s fun to communicate the stories of these foods to both locals and visitors who don’t know where and how, for example, donuts were invented.
Q: If you could take a food tour in a place other than Chicago, where would you want to go and why?
A: Right now I’m crazing authentic Thai food, so taking a Food Tour through any part(s) of Thailand sounds very appetizing.
Q: What are your favorite places in Chicago?
A: I really enjoy spending time in Chinatown and feeling the pulse of the people there — obviously there’s a cultural and language barrier, but people are very inviting and the food is amazing. Plus, Ping Tom Memorial Park is a secret oasis in the city that few people know about — if you haven’t been, GO! I also enjoy spending time in any of our great Chicago parks — several other favorites include Oz Park, Churchill Park, and Union Park.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this summer?
A: I’m an avid outdoorsmen having been raised near Virginia Beach (VA), so I enjoy heading to the lake, swimming outdoors, running, biking, skateboarding, etc. The warm weather also reminds me of my early days in Virginia; it’s hot, muggy and humid and I have no problem with that kind of weather! I’m fortunate to have friends that enjoy boating, so I never miss an opportunity to head out on the lake and enjoy some rest and relaxation. Lastly, I enjoy eating in the wonderful outdoor patios that Chicago has across the city!
Have any more questions for Shane? Post them in the comments section below, or send us a tweet @ChiFoodPlanet.