Navy Pier: home to the giant Ferris wheel, oodles of delicious popcorn and ice cream options, the gorgeous stained glass museum and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, approximately a bazillion tourists... and The Great American Lobster Fest. Yes, you read that correctly: a lobster fest in the middle of one of the most unlikely locations, aka the lobster-less Midwest. Okay, so we're not exactly lobster city (we have that tiny lack of ocean problem), but we are known for our fantastic food festivals... and thanks to the wonders of NESC and overnight shipping from the East coast, we're able to join in on the excitement with our very own festival dedicated to the oh-so-delicious crustacean.
The two-day festival returned to Navy Pier for its second go around the same weekend as the Air and Water Show. As the majority of the fest took place outside, it was the perfect location for those looking to escape the beach crowds, but still have a great view of the show. Admission to the main outside festival area was free of charge, and included ample opportunities to stuff yourself silly with numerous seafood options (lobster tacos! lobster mac & cheese!), work off the calories playing carnival games, and chase away the pain of loosing at said games whilst chilling in the beer garden. As much excitement as was happening outside, Diana and I were most interested in what was taking place inside the iconic Navy Pier Grand Ballroom: live music, libations, and lobster dinners!
While admission to the event was free, a paid ticket was what got you the motherload: a full steamed lobster, served with corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, a dinner roll, and warm butter dipping sauce. *drool*
We snagged our lobsters, donned our bibs, and headed outside to the pier to indulge in a little people-watching and crustacean chomping. While we did have to wait in an absurdly long line for our dinners (with the smells of lobster and corn swirling around us - so cruel!), the end result was worth it. The meat was tender and succulent, and the warm butter was the perfect accompaniment to everything on our trays.
As much as we wanted to sample some of the other lobster-stuffed offerings, we were just too stuffed from our dinners to eat another bite (boo!). So instead, we decided to digest by walking the length of the pier like proper tourists (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!) to take in the beautiful city-skyline-meets-lake views.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.