Large crowds turned out Saturday for day one of the 36th annual Taste of Buffalo downtown.
Nearly 60 restaurants set up tents or parked their food trucks in Niagara Square and along Delaware Avenue. Among them was 716 Food and Sports. Its general manager John Robare said it's important for his restaurant to have a presence at the Taste of Buffalo.
"There still are lots of people who have not come to see us and try our great food," Robare said. "We have two amazing wings we're offering."
Among the judges was Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. She was there with her family tasting various dishes. Burstein said for at least one day, she delegated her duties to others so she could have some fun.
"Here my role is a judge," Burstein said. "We have eight health department sanitarians deployed to inspect the temporary food stands. They're doing their job. I'm doing mine as a judge, enjoying the entire experience."
Judges gave the Caribbean Experience the award for Best Overall Item for its Jerked Chicken with Rice. The Taste of Siam captured the Best of Buffalo award for its Fried Ice Cream.
This year’s festival includes the new Favorite Fermentation award, which was given to A Gust of Sun Winery (Ransomville) for their wine, Sweet Westies.
Additional Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops winners include:
Chair’s Choice (chosen by Matthew Testa, 2019 Taste of Buffalo Chair): Hilltop Restaurant & Bar (Lockport), Buffalo Lager Braised Short Ribs
Children’s Choice (chosen by Jacob Testa): Mineo & Sapio Street Eats food truck, Chorizo Po’Boy
Lou Billittier Memorial “Rookie of the Year” Award: The Chocolate Bar (Buffalo), Chocolate Mousse Brulee
Veteran Restaurant Award: Danny’s Restaurant (Orchard Park), Peanut Butter Pie
Best Meat Item: Caribbean Experience (Buffalo), Jerked Chicken with Rice
Best Seafood Item: Flaming Fish food truck, Shrimp Po’Boy
Best Dessert: Water Lily Café (Cheektowaga), Thai Tea Smoothie
Best Sandwich: Souped Up food truck, Bacon Jam Cheddar Melt
Best Red Wine: Three Brothers Wineries & Estates (Geneva), Red Jazz Infusion
Best White Wine: Victorianbourg Wine Estate (Wilson), Pechette
Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options:
- First Place: Alex’s Place (Batavia), Grilled Garlic Shrimp Skewers
- Second Place: Local Kitchen and Beer Bar (Buffalo), Brussel Sprout Slaw
- Third Place: Cali Eats (Buffalo), Fiesta Black Bean Bowl
- Best Healthy Dessert: Chrusciki Bakery (Lancaster), Apple Cinnamon Pierogi
The Taste of Buffalo continues Sunday from 11am to 7pm.