Most Syracusians believe that the Taste of Syracuse is the unofficial start to summer in Syracuse. This beloved festival gets all of Central New York truly out of winter hibernation over the universal love of food. Vendors and restaurants from around the area set up booths to display some of their finest foods. The best part? Every stand offers a $1 sample. So basically you can hop from booth to booth all night and have the most diversified meal of the year. I’ve been attending the Taste for over a decade. I look forward to it for months, plotting out what samples I want to try and in what order. There have been years of bad weather, years of mediocre music, years of ridiculous crowds. But I have to say that this year was by far one of the best! Between the great weather, fantastic additions, FREEBIES, and tolerable crowds, I was sorry when it was time to go!
Glazed & Confused Donuts win for the best dollar sample on opening day, their “Dizzy Pig”, a maple bacon bourbon donut, was the PERFECT thing for National Donut Day. And we were all pleased to find that we got an entire donut, not just a typical small sample piece.
Another popular sample this year was the super large “mini calzone” from Calio’s; and you can never go wrong with Toss’n’Fire Wood-Fire Pizza. They sampled their signature salt potato pizza. Yum! Potatoes, cheese, and bacon on a wood-fired pizza? They have they key to my heart! Moose Shack also had a fantastic garlic parm pierogie for $2 that was delicious! My Polish heritage was ecstatic to try it! And, no Syracuse event is complete without your 2-foot long pizza frite from Villa. Always a classic.
Freebies. Freebies. And more freebies. Even better than the $1 samples, this year featured an entire row of booths offering freebies. Turkey Hill ice cream cups, bags and bags of nuts, crackers, chips, and other snacks, Allegra allergy medicine, and more. Lots of stands also had your typical keychains, koozies, and sunglasses so you’ll remember them when you get home.
The best of the freebies and new additions? Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. Representing Coney Island down near NYC, Nathan’s had a whole area set up with games and things for both kids and adults! An inflatable giant slide, a mini carousel, skee ball, basketball, video games, a fast pitch net, and a Zoltar fortune teller. Score high enough in any of them and you’re going home with a foam hot dog hat! And let’s not forget the free hot dog samples. They were perfect. The next booth over was an I Love NY booth with some interactive quizzes and a fun photo op!
The Taste of Syracuse only lasts for two days each year- the first Friday and Saturday in June from 11am to 11pm each day. Make sure you don’t miss it! The event is free to attend, and is great for people watching too. If you look carefully, you can easily find free parking, so don’t be tricked into paying just to be a block closer. So grab your closest friends and head downtown tomorrow!