This summer was a tough one for Oak Park restaurant owner Charlie Robinson, who says he made about $100,000 less at the Taste of Chicago than the previous year.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that attendance was down by about 11 percent, year to year, at the food festival. Reasons for the slump, according to the newspaper, include reduced hours, the economy, and the lack of a fireworks show or big-name bands.
Robinson — an Oak Parker whose Robinson's No. 1 Ribs has locations in both Oak Park in Chicago — told the Sun-Times that his sales were down by 30 to 40 percent compared to last year. He earned some $200,000 at the Taste, compared to $300,000 the previous year.
"It's hard to be out there 10 days and not make any money," Robinson told the Sun-Times. "We're not out there just to get our name out, we're out there to make money. If we break even, we'll be lucky this year."
Robinson said he'd be in favor of the festival being taken over by a private company, and having the new operator charge an admission fee.