Sample All of Ellicottville at ‘The Taste’

Girl tasting pizza at a Taste of Ellicottville

There’s no easy way to cover just how much food there is to take down at the Taste of Ellicottville. With so many well-established restaurants and so many long-time staples in the mix, it’s hard to know where to begin. One thing’s for sure: it’s delicious, it’s affordable, and you definitely won’t leave hungry! Photo courtesy Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce

Bring Your Appetite (and Your Elastic Waistband) to Downtown Ellicottville, NY Aug. 11-12, 2012

If you’re reading this publication, there’s a good chance you’re well aware of the festival scene in Ellicottville, NY. As the summer days begin to dwindle, and our thoughts slowly begin to lean towards fall and winter (you can’t fight it), we still need to remember the next big event on tap: The Taste of Ellicottville which hits the streets and sidewalks Aug. 11-12 from 12-4pm each day. I bounced around town recently to see just what was in store this year.

My first stop was to the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, where I caught Executive Director Brian McFadden (feet up on the desk) who revealed his excitement yet again for this long-standing tradition, noting that “aside from the Taste of Buffalo, you really can’t get an experience like this upstate … over 20 restaurants putting their best (slip resistant) foot forward, truly touching on all types of food and drink.”

If you’re interested in food sampling, you’ll need to purchase tickets for $1 each from the Chamber table set up in the center of town during the festival, and then you can begin your culinary adventure throughout the village. (Breathe easy, you won’t break the bank. Items range between $1-$4).

The Flavors

There’s no easy way to cover just how much food there is to take down at this festival. With so many well-established restaurants in Ellicottville and so many long-time staples in the mix, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Wings? Madigan’s offers their popular ‘Grace’s House Sauce’ (I don’t know what it is ... it’s just good!), while Balloons holds tough with their own variety. (Mike Kerns, owner of Balloons, also hints they have a HUGE musical surprise to cap off the festivities on Sunday, so stay tuned for that news.)

One of the local favorites, Hoagie's Pizza, will also be holding strong at this year’s Taste.  Mostly known for their (awesome) pizza by the slice, owner/operator Kuk surprised me by saying they'll be presenting a steak aoili herb wrap, as well as some frozen peanut butter pie this year.  Kuk exclaimed, “This is one of our favorite festivals of the year - you can't beat the charm and culinary variety Ellicottville has to offer!”

If you’re looking for something a bit more worldly, take a stab at the Mediterranean offerings from Kabob’s, which often include gyros and scaled down versions of their namesake. Sticking with namesakes, I also caught up with Jim Carls of Dina’s Restaurant, who mentioned they’d be doing calamari, their homemade mac n’ cheese (amazing!) as well as their usual array of desserts - perfect for wrapping up your Taste experience.

The restaurants outside of town aren’t scared to get in the mix either, as you’ll be able to find The Birdwalk presenting their wonderful array of comfort foods, as well as a great offering from John Harvard’s Brew House at Holiday Valley. Executive Chef Josh McDowell mentioned they’d be cooking up jambalaya, meat-loaf sliders, as well as a surprise item they’re excited to unveil this year.

With the majority of the perennial participants now under your belt, I’d also encourage you to stop down and visit the ‘new kid on the block’, Katy’s Café. I spoke with Katy about her first year participating in the taste as a business owner, and she exclaimed she “couldn’t be more excited … the reception we’ve gotten since opening our doors has been overwhelming, and we’re looking forward to showing people what we’ve got!” What she’s got is pretty cool - a blue mushroom soup, an asian chicken noodle dish, and a tribute to Elvis himself, a King Sundae, which has a variety of toppings you’re going to love (no spoilers here).

So there you have it - a literal whirlwind tour of the Taste of Ellicottville. Although a few restaurants weren’t mentioned in great detail (EBC, Gin Mill, The Barn, Silver Fox Steakhouse, Coffee Culture, Subway) … it just gives you all the more incentive to get out, grab your friends (and elastic waistbands) and get down to this great festival. For more information, click over to, where you can find a full directory of participating vendors and restaurants. Happy Eating!

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