Highlights include 56 restaurants and food trucks, local wines and craft beers, chef Shaun O’Neale from ‘MasterChef’ season 7, live music, cooking demonstrations
The nation’s largest two-day food festival, Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops, returns Saturday, July 13 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.), and Sunday, July 14 (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
Visitors can enjoy culinary delights from 56 restaurants and food trucks and six local wineries, plus live music, family-friendly entertainment, and much more in downtown Buffalo (along Delaware Avenue starting at Johnson Park, and throughout Niagara Square).
“The Taste is Western New York’s favorite food weekend, and we’ve made some changes to improve the festival experience for our guests,” said Matt Testa, 2019 event chairman. “All food and beverage tickets are now valued at $1, which simplifies the transaction. If an item is priced at one ticket, that means it costs one dollar. In addition, new uniform menu signage at all restaurants will be easy to see, so you have plenty of time to decide what you’d like to eat.”
As always, admission to the Taste of Buffalo is free. Menu items from restaurants and food trucks will remain between one and five tickets ($1 and $5). Food and beverage tickets will continue to be sold in $5 sheets at three ticket tents located throughout the festival. Cash, Visa and MasterCard are accepted.
“The Taste’s eclectic menu represents a love for food that runs deep in our community. With items like Mexican street corn chowder, chicken tandoori, Thai cucumber salad, and shrimp po’boys – Taste restaurants offer something for everyone,” Testa said. “Whether you are looking for veggie dishes, savory meat recipes, decadent desserts, kid-friendly choices or Buffalo classics, you’ll find it all at the Taste.”
Rookie Row, located along the Taste of Buffalo’s expanded footprint on Delaware Avenue between Chippewa and Johnson Park, is where guests will find nine new restaurants, including Buffalo Soul Catering, Cali Eats, The Chocolate Bar, Dalmatia Hotel, The Draft Room, Eli Fish Brewing Company, The Hilltop Restaurant & Bar, Rachel’s Mediterranean Grill, and Sweet Life Dessert Experience.
The complete food and drink lineup, along with 2019 menu items, can be found at tasteofbuffalo.com and in the festival guide. Pick up a booklet at all Erie and Niagara County Tops locations beginning in early July. One can also download the guide at tasteofbuffalo.com or pick up a copy at any Taste of Buffalo ticket tent. The festival guide contains a site map and directory of all participating restaurants and wineries, along with sponsor information, recipes from celebrity chefs, and valuable coupons.
To enjoy the festival on a budget, guests can take advantage of the “Taste 10 for $20.” Each restaurant offers a smaller, taste-sized portion of one menu item for just two tickets ($2). That means one can sample foods from 10 different restaurants and only spend $20.
It’s also easy to eat healthy at the Taste of Buffalo. Every restaurant serves an “Independent Health Foundation Healthy Option.” These are meant to be delicious menu items that are lower in fat, cholesterol and sodium. Both healthy options and taste-sized menu items are designated in the festival guide and on each restaurant’s menu banner.
Guests can feel good about making purchases at the Taste of Buffalo, because they are helping to make possible five annual $1,000 scholarships, along with thousands of dollars in donations to local charitable organizations that provide volunteers for the festival. This year’s recipient organizations include Boy Scout Troop 139, Boy Scout Troop 431, Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart Parent’s Guild, Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, Clarence Destination Imagination, Daemen College Sigma Theta Tau, DanceAbility, Gateway Longview, Hospice Foundation, Keller Williams, Kidney Foundation of WNY, Orchard Park Destination Imagination, Shea’s Spotlight Committee, and United Methodist Church of Orchard Park.
Images courtesy of the Taste of Buffalo
Taste Dishes Prepared by Celebrity Chefs
See and taste finished dishes prepared by some of the best national and local culinary talents on the Taste of Buffalo’s Culinary Stage by Artisan Kitchens and Baths, located in the New Era Cap parking lot at 160 Delaware Ave.
•At noon on Saturday, celebrity chef Shaun O’Neale, winner of “MasterChef” season 7, will prepare his sweet corn and goat cheese risotto. At noon Sunday, he’ll make chili-rubbed pork tenderloin with a bourbon reduction using Three Chord Bourbon, squash puree and pickled mushrooms.
He’ll take questions from the audience and meet with fans. O’Neale’s cookbook will also be available for purchase.
•At 3:45 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, King’s Hawaiian chef Bert will prepare white chocolate macadamia and coffee bread pudding, and King’s Hawaiian smokey, bacon, barbecue pulled-pork slider with pickled red onions and wild greens.
•Saturday at 2:30 p.m., it’s Lockhouse Distillery’s sixth annual Summer Cocktail Competition featuring a head-to-head craft cocktail competition using Lockhouse Barrel Aged Gin. Spirits sampling will take place before and after the competition.
Interested participants must be 21 and older to sample.
As seen all around Buffalo, on “Ellen,” and in the national media spotlight, “Buffalo’s Own Singing Cops,” Michael Norwood and Moe Badger, will take to the stage at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“Be there to find out what they’ll be cooking, because we don’t even know!” a press release stated.
The complete Culinary Stage schedule is at tasteofbuffalo.com.
Proceeds from Tops Markets Tent to Benefit People Inc.
The Taste of Buffalo is grateful to have the continued support of Tops Markets as presenting sponsor. One hundred percent of profits from the Tops tent at the event will be donated to People Inc.
“At Tops, we believe in giving back to the communities we serve,” said John Persons, president and chief operating officer for Tops Friendly Markets. “We are proud to serve as presenting sponsor of the Taste of Buffalo for the 16th year in a row, bringing the very best food and beverages that Buffalo has to offer to Western New Yorkers.”
Presale food ticket vouchers are on sale now at the registers at participating Tops Markets. Vouchers are available in $10 and $50 increments and are redeemable at any Taste of Buffalo ticket tent. Each $50 voucher comes with a coupon redeemable for four free, non-alcoholic beverage coupons at any of the ticket tents during the event.
On Saturday at 11 a.m., a giant, motorized, bubble-blowing, music-playing shopping cart sponsored by Tops will open the festival with a drive down Delaware Avenue and will park at the Tops Markets tent location at Niagara Square. Guests can take their photo with the shopping cart all weekend.
While people are there, they can spin the Tops prize wheel for a $1 donation.
Tops has a delicious menu planned for guests to enjoy: Pilgrim’s fried chicken with biscuit, roasted sweet corn with peppers, maple bourbon bacon baked beans, a grilled chicken sandwich, Tops Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and onions, a green salad with grilled chicken and Newman’s Own Dressings, Beyond Meat sausage sandwich with peppers and onions, fresh fruit cup, and their signature strawberry shortcake.
Visit the Tops Pharmacy Tent inside Niagara Square, directly behind the big Tops tent and pop next door to get free samples of some of the natural and organic products Tops carries. Around the corner in the square, look for another Tops tent and try free samples of Tops-brand products.
“The Taste of Buffalo is something that I look forward to every year, showcasing the delicious food that Buffalo has become known for and shining a positive light on our many diverse restaurants,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. “I thank Tops Markets for once again sponsoring the Taste of Buffalo, Western New York’s premiere outdoor festival and the largest two-day food festival in the United States.”
Beverage Lineup Includes New Beer Brewed Exclusively for Taste
Don’t miss getting a glass of “Hefe-ty Appetite,” a beer brewed just for the Taste of Buffalo by The Labatt Brew House. It will be available at all five beer tents, along with other Labatt beer products, including Blue, Blue Light, Labatt Grapefruit, Light Lime and Citra. A new addition, Pura, will also be served in the big beer tent.
From 3-5 p.m. Saturday at every beer tent, Labatt happy hour pricing will be offered on all Labatt products, including the Hefe-ty Appetite beer. There will be a party with giveaways at both the big beer tent and hometown beer tent, and someone in the hometown beer tent will win a pair of Bills’ home-opener tickets.
This is open to those 21 and older and those entering must be present to win.
Also new this year, Josh Cellars wine will be available in both the big beer tent and hometown beer tent.
Taste of Buffalo also serves Coca-Cola products, including Dasani water and Powerade, throughout the festival. Guests that purchase any two Coke products at a Taste Coke tent will get a free pair of Coca-Cola sunglasses, while they last.
Relax with Live Music, Free Activities for Kids
Buffalo’s best party bands will entertain visitors on the Tops Stage inside the Taste of Buffalo’s big beer tent on Delaware Avenue at Johnson Park.
In the hometown beer tent, Three Chord Bourbon is bringing guests live acoustic music all weekend and bourbon tastings from 1-4 p.m. both days. The hometown beer tent has a new location at the corner of Delaware Avenue at West Eagle in Niagara Square.
Join the weekend-long dance party with DJ P-Nasty at the party tent on Delaware at Huron. Stop by for karaoke at the Mohawk Street beer tent.
The Taste of Fun KidZone, presented by WellNow and sponsored by Explore & More Children’s Museum, is where the fun happens for the youngest guests. There will be hands-on pop-up food play exhibits, the museum’s famous milking cow, and a teddy bear hospital where kids can run a WellNow bear through the x-ray machine and see the results.
Enjoy Free Samples, Giveaways, Interactive Displays
A mix of both national and local sponsors will offer free samples, demonstrations, and interactive activities along with plenty of music and fun.
Here’s a taste of some of the experiences to check out this year:
•The Police Athletic League of Buffalo (PAL) will bring its bike helmet safety program to the Taste of Buffalo, under the Buffalo Police Department’s tent inside Niagara Square. There will be free bike helmet giveaways, helmet fittings, and information on bicycle safety.
This program is offered at the event in honor of Andrew Foit, the son of longtime Taste of Buffalo board members Chris and Darcy Hitchcock. In 2011, Andrew was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike and slipped into a coma from which he never fully awakened. He passed away earlier this year.
The press release said, “The Taste is honored to bring this program to visitors as a way to remember Andrew and encourage children, teenagers and adults to properly fit, fasten and wear their bicycle helmets.”
New this year, located on Delaware Avenue across from New Era Cap, Erie County’s Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team (SMART) will provide a "Family Refresh" center where visitors can cool off in the shade, obtain basic first aid, and enjoy kid-friendly preparedness activities. There will be a private area for nursing moms, a diaper changing area, and hand-washing station.
Pick up a free tray to help carry food around the festival, while supplies last, from either of the two Independent Health/Independent Health Foundation tents located by the Chippewa Street and Court Street ticket tents.
Taste of Buffalo shade spaces are located throughout the festival, so people can get out of the sun, people watch, and enjoy food comfortably at a cocktail table.
Citizen’s Bank ATMs will be located at each of the Taste of Buffalo’s three ticket tents. Stop by the Citizens mobile branch on the outer ring of Niagara Square for games and giveaways.
Milk-Bone Dog Food, Rachel Ray’s Nutrish, and Newman’s Own Dog Food have teamed up to support the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter. Shelter volunteers will be on hand with free product samples. Donations for the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter are welcome.
The press release advised, “Please consider leaving your dog at home and bring home a doggie bag. The crowds, stimulation and heat may not be the best place for your buddy.”
Be sure to walk the inside and outside ring of Niagara Square to get free samples from some of the Taste of Buffalo’s food and beverage sponsors, including Cooper Cheese, Cracker Jack, Elmhurst Milked, Garlic Expressions Salad Dressing, Hershey’s – The S’mores Heartwarming Tour, Jif Power Ups, Josh Cellars, King’s Hawaiian, Lay’s STAX, New York Pork Producers, and Success Rice.
Additional sponsors are located throughout the festival and offer guests an interactive experience or samples. They include Pure Leaf Tea, New Era Cap, Lasik Vision Institute, I Love NY, Sylvania Automotive, Buffalo Police Department, Buffalo Fire Department, New York State Troopers, and NFTA-Metro. Sponsor locations are listed on the festival guide site map available at every ticket tent and downloadable at www.tasteofbuffalo.com.
Other sponsors include Folger’s NOIR, Splenda Creamer and Splenda Naturals, 360 PSG, Adpro Sports, The Birds Nest Circus Arts, and BSK, LLP.
Visit tasteofbuffalo.com to download a festival guide, review all of the restaurants and menu items, the wineries, and see the complete schedule for live music and the Culinary Stage.
Images courtesy of the Taste of Buffalo
About Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops
The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops is the nation's largest two-day food festival, attracting more than 450,000 visitors each year. The 36th annual event is July 13 and 14 along Delaware Avenue from Johnson Park to Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo. The Taste of Buffalo is a not-for-profit organization with more than 1,000 volunteers helping to put on the annual event. To date, more than $500,000 has been raised at the festival for local charities, in addition to five $1,000 scholarships awarded annually to local high school seniors pursuing a culinary or hospitality-related degree.
2019 Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops Restaurants and Food Trucks
*Asterisks in the above list designate new restaurants participating in the Taste of Buffalo for the first time.