Celebrating its 17th year, Taste of Atlanta returns to Historic Fourth Ward Park, and more than 90 metro Atlanta restaurants will serve up all sorts of signature bites over the weekend of Oct. 19-21, as crowds gather to eat, drink and mingle outdoors.
"Our move to Fourth Ward Park was great last year," said Taste of Atlanta founder Dale DeSena. "It really allowed us to spread out with some green space and a parklike setting where people were more relaxed and more able to take their time getting to know the must-try restaurants.
“This is the one time during the year where you can enjoy all of the great Atlanta restaurants in one place. They come from Decatur, Duluth, Inman Park, the Westside, Buckhead and everywhere. But you just have to come to Fourth Ward Park to taste all this really good, restaurant-quality food.”
Returning restaurants offering tastes for general admission holders on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 20 and Oct. 21) include Bhojanic, Hattie B's Hot Chicken, Waffle House, and Woody's Cheesesteaks.
Among the new participating restaurants, look for Amélie's French Bakery & Cafe, Bareburger, Four Forks and Root Baking Co.
And for the first time, Sunday will be all about brunch, or what some call Atlanta’s favorite meal, with dishes like breakfast empanadas from Babalu.
Once again, the festivities begin with the Friday evening kickoff party, from 6:30-11 p.m. Oct. 19 at Historic Fourth Ward Park, with all-inclusive tickets $85 in advance or as part of special general admission or VIP three-day packages.
This year's party will be hosted by three of Atlanta's favorite chefs, Archna Becker of Bhojanic, Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol, and Hector Santiago of El Super Pan.
The opening event will showcase international flavors and bring together some two dozen local chefs from restaurants including Donetto,Twisted Soul,Deep End,Il Giallo Osteria & Bar,Porch Light Latin Kitchen,the Mercury, and Tiny Lou's.
As always, chef demonstrations and cooking classes are a big part of Taste of Atlanta.
Featured chefs for 2018 include James Beard Award-winning writer and cookbook author Cynthia Graubart, "Food Network Star" winner Tregaye Fraser and Atlanta chef Pano Karatassos of Kyma.
The Chef’s Table stage gives attendees an inside view into the Atlanta culinary world. The Kitchen Workshop offers free, hands-on cooking classes for home cooks. The Home Plate stage features demonstrations from nutritionists and chefs with tips to take home.
New to the festival this year is a beer garden with some of Atlanta’s favorite craft beer makers, along with cocktails and wine. On Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 20-21), the VIP area will showcase 17 Georgia breweries, including Orpheus, Wild Heaven, New Realm, Gate City, Monday Night, Atlanta Brewing, Second Self, Steady Hand, Terrapin, SweetWater, Pontoon, Coastal Empire, Oconee, Creature Comforts, Arches, Three Taverns, and Burnt Hickory, plus cider from Mercier Orchards.
On Saturday in the VIP area, enjoy Bulleit Bourbon cocktails from some of Atlanta’s best bartenders and past Barcraft Competition winners. On Sunday, the 10th annual Barcraft Celebration will culminate with a panel on the Home Plate Stage called “Master’s Round Table: Atlanta Cocktail Culture — Where We’ve Come From and Where We’re Going.” Led by pioneering Atlanta barman Greg Best, the panelists are Paul Calvert of Ticonderoga Club, Kellie Thorn of Empire State South, and Miles MacQuarrie of Kimball House.
Taste of Atlanta
VIP tickets range from $75 for one day to $190 for the full three-day experience. With a VIP wristband, you get 20 “taste points” (compared to 10 with general admission) and access to the private VIP area with tastings from 10 restaurants not found anywhere else at the festival, plus complimentary beer, wine and “creative cocktails.”
Char Korean Bar and Grill’s Bulgogi Philly Cheese Steaks with Spicy Aioli
Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall’s Fried Chicken Sandwich with White BBQ Sauce
Barcelona Wine Bar chef Joe Paire’s Paella Salvje and Pintxos
DAS BBQ’s Pork Sliders with DAS Espresso-Powered Sauce
1Kept’s Springer Mountain Farms Smoked Sweet Hot Chicken and Golden Malted Waffle
Activating your wristband before the festival is strongly encouraged as activated wristbands track tastes sampled and provide attendees with a post-event tasting list, serving as a customized roundup of restaurant recommendations for future dining out.
Additional taste points can be added to wristbands online before the event or at Taste Point Top Up tents located throughout the festival.
Entry gates for general admission ticket holders are located on North Avenue (Gate 1), along the Beltline Eastside Trail at Dallas Street and North Angier Avenue (Gate 2), and at Garden Park Drive and Rankin Street (Gate 3). VIP ticket holders can enter at general admission gates or at the VIP entrance at Garden Park Drive and Ralph McGill Boulevard NE.
Located adjacent to the Atlanta Beltline, Taste of Atlanta is a walkable destination from nearby neighborhoods. And it's easy to get to the festival by car, bike, rideshare service or MARTA, with complimentary Taste of Atlanta shuttles from the Civic Center station on West Peachtree Street. Check the Taste of Atlanta website for car and bike parking details, rideshare drop-off/pickup points and more on riding MARTA: tasteofatlanta.com/directions.php.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution