15 ways to fix Navy Pier
A pie-in-sky makeover that locals and tourist will love.
3. Give the people something original to eat.
The pier can capitalize on a demographic of people who will travel—in packs, with cash—to any corner of the city, but it must expand its food offerings past Dippin’ Dots. The key to attracting food obsessives: Offer something from a local artisan that’s not available anywhere else. Say, a doughnut factory helmed by HotChocolate’s Mindy Segal, or an enormous, tourable chocolate-making facility run by Sarah Levy of Sarah’s Pastries and Candies. Give these factories large glass walls so passersby can watch the process, and set up a row of locally run food carts so they have something to snack on (Bill Kim popcorn; Great Lake calzone) while they gawk. Finally, convince the Chopping Block to put its biggest-yet school on the pier, and give it an auditorium to program with chef demos, author talks and all other sorts of live food porn.—David Tamarkin