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Taste of Buffalo turns 35 and plans a delicious celebration

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Photos by Bill Wippert


Buffalo’s favorite summer festival has come a long way since 1984, when ten restaurants lined Main Street along the Metro Rail tracks. Taste of Buffalo, presented by Tops, turns thirty-five this year and the festival organizers have planned a party for the ages. It all happens July 7–8.


There are more than 250 different menu items to choose from, as well as an expanded footprint. For the first time, the Taste expands north on Delaware Avenue, past Chippewa Street to Johnson Park. Expect a Rookie Row of restaurants and food trucks in this new space. Nearby, inside the big beer tent, the Tops Markets stage features local bands playing live music throughout the weekend.



Fifty-three of Western New York’s best restaurants and food trucks are there for the party, including six that are new or returning after a hiatus: Dirty Bird Chicken N’ Waffles, Niagara Café, Ru’s Pierogi, Souped Up, and Alex’s Place. In addition, Carmine’s is returning for the first time since a tragic fire destroyed their restaurant in 2015.



If you’re thirsty, don’t miss the special-edition beer made just for the Taste by 12 Gates Brewing Company. Cheers to 35 Years Kellerbier is an easy-drinking, German-style amber lager. The recipe is from Adam Akers, a local homebrewer who won the Taste Homebrew Competition earlier this year. It is available to purchase in all beer tents at the Festival, including the Hometown Beer Tent alongside other locally-made craft brews. (You can catch live music all weekend there as well.)


For those who prefer grapes to hops, six local wineries are onsite, including A Gust of Sun Winery & Vineyard, who are making their Taste debut.


Celebrity chefs Shola Olunloyo and Marc Forgione

Marc Forgione photo by Evan Sung


Celebrity chef alert! A live cooking demonstration and meet-and-greet with Chef Marc Forgione is presented by Fisher & Paykel and Artisan Kitchens & Baths. This Manhattan-based restaurateur, cookbook author, and winner of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef is on the Taste of Buffalo Culinary Stage 12 p.m., Saturday, July 7. Also on stage, on Saturday and Sunday, Chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen in Philadelphia is cooking up flavor-forward seasonal dishes. Check the Festival Guide for exact times. (Buffalo Spree is the exclusive print media sponsor of the Taste of Buffalo Culinary Stage.)


Starting June 10, participating Tops Markets are selling presale Taste food ticket vouchers, available in $10 or $50 increments, at the registers. Each $50 voucher comes with a coupon good for four free non-alcoholic beverages, redeemable at all Taste ticket tents.


Tasteofbuffalo.com has everything you need to plan your day. You can also find @tasteofbuffalo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat for updates. We’ll see you in July!


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