Working Lollapalooza is ‘constant insanity:’ Edzo’s Burger Shop

SHARE Working Lollapalooza is ‘constant insanity:’ Edzo’s Burger Shop
SHARE Working Lollapalooza is ‘constant insanity:’ Edzo’s Burger Shop

The owner-chef of Edzo’s Burger Shop in Evanston, a regular vendor at Lollapalooza the last seven years, says the four-day music festival is “constant insanity and craziness.”

Edzo’s, one of nearly 40 food vendors at Lollapalooza, will be offering hand-cut french fries with sea salt, classic hamburgers, Flamin’ Hot Cheeto french fries and spicy bacon cheeseburgers.The restaurant goes through about 100 pounds of beef every day, while the booth at Lolla goes through about 700 pounds daily.

Eddie Lakin, who opened the shop in 2009, once clocked more than 60,000 steps in one day at the festival.

“We have 50 seats [at the restaurant]. At Lolla, there’s 100,000 mouths to feed, so it’s really different,” said the 49-year-old, adding that he outsources hand-cutting the potatoes and grinding the beef for the festival so he doesn’t “burn out someone’s arm trying to cut that quantity of potatoes.”

Lollapalooza, now in its 27th year, runs in Grant Park from Aug. 2-5.

Eddie Lakin, <span style="color:#000000;">owner-chef of</span> Edzo’s Burger Shop in Evanston, poses for a portrait at the register of his restaurant on July 27, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Eddie Lakin, owner-chef of Edzo’s Burger Shop in Evanston, poses for a portrait at the register of his restaurant on July 27, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The team will use Aug. 1 to set up. The start of each festival day will be at 6 a.m., with the staff ready to accept deliveries the following hour. The chefs will arrive about 10 a.m., an hour before sales start. When the festival ends each night at 10 p.m., Lakin will count the money, his least favorite part of the day, and leave before midnight.

With a laugh, Lakin notes that the wind off Lake Michigan pushes the burger smoke and smell through the booth, resulting in his 25-person crew being “covered in grease” by the end of each day.

“It’s just, like, constant insanity and craziness,” he said. “One of the funnest things is seeing people having a great time and just being part of that … everybody is super thrilled to be there, and we’re super thrilled to be there, too.”

While always focusing on making sure the customer is happy, Lakin manages to take time out to enjoy the music.

“Who doesn’t love a rock show?” asked the Elk Grove Village resident. Every year, Lakin “bops around” between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. when the booth is slow, from the BMI stage, the Petrillo Music Shell and a few other stages, to get glimpses of the “sleeper bands that are about to be famous.” He managed to see Perry Farrell, of Jane’s Addiction, backstage in 2016.

A burger at Edzo’s Burger Shop in Evanston on July 27, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A burger at Edzo’s Burger Shop in Evanston on July 27, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Sunday night, the festival’s last day, everything must be broken down, loaded in trucks and transported back to the restaurant, a process that lasts until about 3 a.m.

“The whole thing makes me proud to be in Chicago and just be a part of it,” he said, adding that he’s honored to be among the city’s “restaurant royalty” that work Lollapalooza.

During Lolla, the burger joint, located at 1571 Sherman Ave. in Evanston, operates on reduced hours, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with only a five-person staff, including the manager. When the festival is over,the restaurant will be on vacation so all can “recuperate.” It will reopen on Aug. 13.

Edzo’s is also a regular vender at Dillo Day, Chicago Hot Dog Fest, and occasionally Country LakeShake and Riot Fest.

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