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Taste of Buffalo features new restaurants and exciting culinary feats

Nickel City HCef Adam Goetz plates up his creation for one of 2010's battles.

There’s a reason why the Taste of Buffalo is the largest two-day food festival in the United States. You can find good food (just about) anywhere in America, but in Buffalo, food is part of our identity – it’s a unique source of pride. We have Buffalo wings. Beef on weck. All kinds of fantastic pizza. Cuisine from about twenty different ethnic groups is represented within the Queen City.

If you’re getting hungry just reading this, hold on to that feeling, because this year’s Taste of Buffalo is this weekend. Each year, the not-for-profit festival – which is presented by Tops and now in its 27th year – evolves into a bigger, more all-inclusive culinary event, and this year will be no exception. Over fifty restaurants will participate in the festival, almost all of them local. Pizza, ice cream, nuts, burgers, seafood—you name it (or crave it) and Taste of Buffalo will deliver. Dinosaur BBQ, a very popular restaurant from Rochester, will be present, as well as a few national chains (such as Applebee’s and Bravo). Seven local wineries will also be represented within the maelstrom of fantastic foods, serving samples and the always popular wine slushie. Each establishment will compete for the festival’s numerous awards, and the winners will be announced by 5 p.m. on the festival’s first day.

This year the Taste will feature, for the first time, a custom-designed Culinary Stage built by Artisan Kitchens & Baths and sponsored by Buffalo Spree, which will play host to thrilling cooking competitions organized by Feed Your Soul, provide all-weather seating, and serve as home base for audience giveaways. Saturday’s events will include a “Sous Chef Battle" between James Gehrke of Sample and Ryan McNeela of Creekview, and “Nickel City Chefs in Battle: Taco,” as well as cooking demonstrations from winners of past festivals. Sunday on the Culinary Stage, watch for "All Prepped Out", a timed contest in which three chefs will be judged on how quickly yet accurately they can slice and dice, a healthy cooking demonstration featuring Kate Elliott of Merge; and “Nickel City Chefs in Battle: Street Food.”

“I don’t know why people would waste their time being fans of celebrity chefs whose restaurants they’ll never eat in and whose hands they’ll never shake when we have tremendous talent, big personalities, and amazing eats supplied by WNY’s chefs,” says Christa Glennie Seychew, founder of Feed Your Soul (and Spree’s food editor). “These competitions promise to be as lively and entertaining as anything you’d see at a food and wine festival in a top city. Our audience will basically be experiencing the WNY Food Network—live.” You can find the schedule for the culinary stage here.

The festival’s entertainment will be almost as expansive as its food selection. Over twenty different bands will be performing on two stages, including Pirate Dreams and Beatlemagic (tributes bands for Jimmy Buffet and the Beatles, respectively), a steel drum Caribbean extravaganza, and other acts representing R&B, Motown, be-bop, country and big band music. 

Food tickets cost fifty cents each, and all food items cost one to eight tickets. This year’s festival will include one new feature: Restaurants will now be offering smaller sized portions of their signature foods for only four tickets. It might help some of the 450,000+ visitors control themselves at the festival – but then again, that’s a very hard thing to do at Taste of Buffalo.

Taste of Buffalo runs from 11.a.m. to 9 p.m. on July 9 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 10. For more information on the festival – including full listings of participating restaurants and events – please visit tasteofbuffalo.com.




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