The Best Food at Coachella and How Much It Costs (A Lot)

BB9 2017 - DO NOT REUSE
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The foot-long Sumo Dog was one of Coachella’s most Instagrammed culinary moments in 2016.

One of the biggest discoveries for Coachella-goers in 2016 was not an indie band but rather an extravagantly garnished $16 beef frank from Los Angeles’ Sumo Dog that became a cult favorite during the festival, thanks to its ubiquitous presence on Instagram. “It’s interesting how social interaction has grown around the food at Coachella,” says Nic Adler, the festival’s culinary director. “Weekend two, that place that no one knew about before will have a 100-person line.”

The fest’s fare has experienced a renaissance under Adler’s four-year tenure, shifting from standard stadium-style offerings to high-end chef’s table dinners and polo field stalls from of-the-moment restaurants. Adler anticipates a roster of small but buzzy newcomers to hit big this year, like Birdies, a casual Los Angeles chicken-and-doughnuts eatery (it will offer a fried chicken sandwich); 2nd City, a -year-old Filipino taqueria out of Manhattan; and Sweet Comfort, of Irvine, Calif., which will serve drizzled Belgian waffles on a stick. Beyond the à la carte stalls (in the $7 to $17 range) will be three pop-up restaurants, Los Angeles’ Little Sister and Playa Provisions as well as San Diego’s Kindred, which will all offer sit-down table service (about $50 per person). Want to spend even more? Over-the-top four-course dinners by star chefs are run by Outstanding in the Field ($225 per person; outstandinginthefield.com) twice each night.

Music labels are also known to go big for food at their bashes in private villas. Barbecue king Adam Perry Lang will be making short ribs and brisket at this year’s Interscope cookout. He knows to bring his A-game: “They definitely know what they want, and there’s a whole ceremony about the preparation.” 

This article originally appeared in the April 15 issue of Billboard.