Now in its 35th year, Taste of Ellicottville is the best weekend to discover the area’s finest eateries, which will be serving up their signature dishes from noon-4pm on August 10 and 11.
“Taste of Ellicottville is growing more and more each year,” said Barb Pump, project development manager of Ellicottville’s Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve been doing this since 1985, and everyone looks forward to this weekend. The competition is stiff!”
Over 20 Ellicottville restaurants and businesses are participating in this two-day outdoor event, which invites the public to sample small dishes and beverages. Each restaurant is reviewed by a panel of judges that will present awards in the following categories: best appetizer, best entrée, best dessert, and best healthy choice. “There is also a ‘kids’ choice,’” Pump explained. “Local kids will have the chance to choose their favorite menu item for this category.”
The chamber will be running two booths centrally located at the event to sell food item tickets throughout the weekend. Food item tickets are $1 each and restaurants will charge between $1 and $4 for their dishes. “You can buy tickets individually or in sheets,” Pump explained. “One ticket booth is cash only, and the other booth takes credit cards.”
Pump explained, “We like to spice it up with something new! This year, everyone will have their own theme, which you’ll see in their tent décor, their servers and staff, and maybe inside their restaurant, too.” Also new this year, the judging and announcement of the winners will take place on Saturday instead of Sunday.
Shane Kell, owner of Madigan’s, is looking forward to offering several signature dishes, including two that have won awards in the past. “One of the items we’re doing is steak, which we get fresh from Dom’s Butcher Block next door,” he said. “We’re doing a pan-seared strip steak served au poivre, which is like a pepper-based cream sauce, and we’re also offering it with a chimichurri sauce.” The au poivre option won best entrée three years ago, said Kell. “We’re also offering our Guinness mac ‘n cheese, which we’ve done for the last five years,” he said. “It’s a crowd-pleaser, and it won best entrée four years ago.”
While some restaurants, like Madigan’s, have participated every year since the Taste began, others are newer to the event. Beth Sheehy, owner of the Winery of Ellicottville, is looking forward to participating for the third year. “Our menu will feature wine pairings,” she explained. “One of the items we’re serving is Watson’s Chocolate-covered pretzels paired with our Snow Fox, which is a Niagara wine - a sweet wine.” Those interested in sampling or purchasing wine will need to show ID, in addition to their food tickets, and Sheehy invites visitors to enjoy full tastings of over 20 different wines inside the winery throughout the weekend.
The Silver Fox Steakhouse has participated in the Taste every year except the year owner Michael Nickolson got married. “This year, we’re going to be doing a pork belly and Asian tuna,” said Nickolson. “It’s always a fun weekend,” he added. “It’s nice to have people drop by and say how much they appreciate your restaurant and what you’re serving.” At age 21, Nickolson along with his dad, Gerry, opened the restaurant, and more than 40 years later, it’s still going strong.
Pump looks forward to another great year of delicious food and fun. “All of our restaurants take a lot of pride in what they do, and this is a great weekend to experience it,” she said. To learn more, visit ellicottvilleny.com or follow Ellicottville, New York on Facebook.