Join the birthday celebration and bring your appetite to sample Western New York's favorite foods July 13-14
The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops Markets, celebrates its 30th birthday this summer and everyone is invited to the two-day culinary event. Expect a birthday party like no other, complete with delicious cupcakes, cookies, chocolate and ice cream, as well as a large smorgasbord of the region's most scrumptious culinary delights, including barbecue, seafood, Asian and vegetarian, which have become favorites of the country's largest annual two-day food festival.
The summer event, which attracts approximately 450,000 hungry folks annually, returns Saturday, July 13, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. along Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo. This year's Taste features 51 restaurants, three food trucks and seven wineries, as well as a culinary stage, musical entertainment, and plenty of special offerings from a host of national and local sponsors.
"The Taste is the pinnacle of the summer festival season in Western New York, and we are extremely excited to mark this birthday by offering a 'taste' of the region's top restaurants," said Joe Lane, 2013 Taste chairman. "It's going to be a birthday celebration along Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square all weekend long, and we invite everyone to enjoy all that the Taste has to offer."
Stop by the "Birthday Cake Oreo Photo Spot" inside Niagara Square and take your picture popping out of Taste's oversized cake, and enjoy complimentary birthday cupcakes from Tops Bakery, and birthday cake Oreos beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, while supplies last. On Sunday at 3:30 p.m., in front of the Tops Stage in Niagara Square, join the birthday party finale. Take part in a city-wide birthday sing-a-along and catch The Future Dance Center dancers. There'll be more Tops Bakery cupcakes, birthday cake Oreos, plus Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker chocolate and samples of a special Charlap's birthday flavor ice cream, "Taste the Party," while supplies last.
Throughout the weekend, sample the diverse array of more than 200 food items from restaurants across the Queen City and surrounding Western New York communities. No single food item is more than $4, making it affordable to try a large sampling of items individually or for the entire family. This year, 11 restaurants are participating in their first Taste. They include: Gordon Beirsch, Go Veggies Café, Jewel of India, Joe's Crab Shack, Indian Falls Log Cabin, Merge, Miller's Steak and Crab House, Nette's Fried Chicken, Niagara Seafood Inc., RTR Breakfast Unlimited and Riverstone Grill. Buffalo's food trucks will also be a part of the event for the second straight summer with the new Black Market food truck joining the list.
For the seventh year, all participating restaurants are required to offer a healthy menu item as part of the Taste and Independent Health Foundation's "Healthy Options" program. These items are lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium. The Taste was the first food festival in the country to introduce a healthy requirement.
Wine enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of vintages and sample Scharffen Berger chocolates at Hazlitt Vineyards, Knapp Winery and Glenora Wine Cellars, and The Winery at Marjim Manor. Merritt Estate Winery, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars and Spring Lake Winery are also returning. New this year, two beer tent locations will include a winery, making it easy to relax with a glass of wine and beer in one location. In addition to Labatt beer offerings, Flying Bison will also be available.
Presale food ticket vouchers, available in $10 certificates, can be purchased right at the register at participating Tops Markets June 16 through July 14. For food enthusiasts interested in plotting out their visit this year, the Taste's festival guide, which contains valuable coupons, recipes and a complete listing of food offerings at the event, will be available at all Erie County and Niagara County Tops locations the week before the Taste.
"Tops has been a proud supporter of the Taste of Buffalo since its first year along Main Street in 1984, and we're excited to be the presenting sponsor for its 30th birthday celebration," said Frank Curci, Tops Markets' president and CEO. "The Taste is a great event that brings people from throughout the community together in the heart of downtown Buffalo to sample the best foods and restaurants our region has to offer."
Stop by the Tops tent to enjoy marinated top sirloin boneless choice beef over fresh greens or on a Baker's Oven roll, or Tops' own recipe fresh chicken sausage sandwich topped with peppers and onions. And back by popular demand is Tops' signature strawberry shortcake.
Spin the wheel for a chance to win great prizes each day. One hundred percent of donation proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish. The Tops Pharmacy and natural/organic tent inside Niagara Square will offer free samples of products available at Tops.
At the culinary stage on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and Sunday at noon, Tops butchers will demonstrate how to prepare mouthwatering top sirloin beef marinated with mountain berry and raspberry chipotle seasoning (the same as will be offered in the Tops Markets tent).
The Taste's culinary stage, sponsored by Artisan Kitchens & Bath, is located in the New Era Cap parking lot and features the best in local culinary talent. This area is an intimate venue for getting up close and personal with the finest chefs in Buffalo as you watch their cooking demos and the Nickel City Chef competitions. Seating is free and is first-come, first-served.
Don't miss regionally produced goodness and enjoy samples of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker chocolate and delicious treats from Tops before each show, while they last. Register to win one of two Big Green Egg Mini's grills. Grab a pom pom on your way in and root for your favorite firefighter in this year's Smokin' Hot Firehouse Cook-Off presented by Buffalo Spree and sponsored by Jack Daniel's Sauces and New Era Cap on Saturday at 5 p.m.
A variety of national and local sponsors will offer samples, demonstrations and interactive activities throughout the two-day event, including:
•For the third year in a row, guests can text a vote for their favorite Taste item as part of AT&T's Fan Favorite Food Award. Item numbers and texting information will be listed in the Taste's festival guide and on signage posted at every restaurant or guests can text VOTE to 567890 to receive instructions. Guests can also tweet a message, send a pic via Twitter or Instagram and use #tasteofbuffalo to see it in real time. Or text a message to 345345 to see it on one of the big screens. And, new this year, visit an AT&T tent and take the pledge to never text and drive and experience the simulator, #itcanwait. To stay connected on the latest events and promotions happening during this year's Taste, guests can text "TASTE" to 567890 to have Taste of Buffalo info alerts sent to their phone. (Data, phone and messaging rates apply.)
•Northtown Platinum Plus members get special privileges from Northtown Automotive at the Taste. Guests can show their Platinum Plus key tag to receive exclusive, members-only perks, refreshments and giveaways, and get a seat under the Northtown Automotive tent inside Niagara Square.
•The Taste of Fun KidZone presented by Rolly Pollies returns to Niagara Square. Enjoy an energetic and fun obstacle course that will test your child's balance, agility, hand-eye coordination and more. Kids and their parents are also invited to participate in fitness activities and a community-wide art project, too.
•Limited-edition Taste caps and T-shirts will be available at the New Era Cap flagship store on Delaware and at its satellite location inside Niagara Square. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Tops 5k Run/Walk for Roswell Park.
•Visit the Kwik Fill booth to enter the Kwik Fill Free Ride Sweepstakes. You could win one of 10 grand prizes, including a 2014 Mustang GT. Spin the Kwik Fill prize wheel, too.
•Stop by the Popsicle Pop-up Party to enjoy free samples and join in on the family fun. This summer, Popsicle is hitting the road to host Popsicle Pop-up Parties in cities across America - offering family-fun summer activities, free Popsicle pops and more.
•Come by and shake hands with the Buffalo Police. Sit in a police car, meet safety officers and see their segways.
Other Taste sponsors include: Boy Scouts of America presented by AT&T, Buffalo Athletic Club, Buffalo Fire Department, Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, City of Buffalo Recycling, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Ford Experience Tour, GEICO, Hamburg Casino, Independent Health, Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce, Labatt, New Era Cap Co., Newman's Own, New York State Troopers, Nutella, Popsicle and Smucker's Toppings.
In addition to the food and special attractions, Taste boasts non-stop local music courtesy of acts Boys of Summer, the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Revue, All Start Project, Win Lose or Draw Reunion Band, Terry Buchwald and more, presented on The AT&T Stage at Delaware Avenue and Huron Street, and the Tops Stage at the south side of Niagara Square. Just voted Buffalo's favorite DJ, Spooky Business will spin tunes next to the Genesee Street beer tent location all weekend.
"I am proud to salute the Taste of Buffalo as it celebrates 30 years of providing great food and charitable support to the City of Buffalo and Western New York," said Mayor Byron Brown. "Since 1984, the Taste has grown into one of the many great outdoor festivals in our city, drawing thousands of residents and visitors to downtown Buffalo each year, while enhancing the quality of life that adds to the great progress that's underway in our city."
The Taste is a not-for-profit organization with more than 1,000 volunteers helping to put on the annual event. More than $250,000 has been raised at the festival for local charities, including Compass House, Hospice, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Meals on Wheels of Western New York and National Kidney Foundation. In addition, five $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually to local high school seniors pursuing a culinary or hospitality-related degree.
For a complete schedule of special attractions, listing of food offerings, the music lineup and other Taste-related information, visit www.tasteofbuffalo.com. Don't forget to check out the Taste's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tasteofbuffalo for information and giveaways leading up to the 30th birthday celebration.
The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops is the nation's largest two-day food festival, attracting more than 450,000 people to downtown Buffalo. Festival hours are Saturday, July 13, from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Sunday, July 14, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. There is no admission fee, food prices range from $2 to $4, and tickets are sold in $5 increments. Cash, MasterCard and Visa are accepted at the event. For more information, visit www.tasteofbuffalo.com or www.facebook.com/tasteofbuffalo.