The Taste of Elmwood Park has been a signature event for our sister suburb to the north for more than 30 years. The four-day food festival is back this year with a wide variety of dishes to please every palate. The Taste is free to attend and will be held at Central Park at 75th Avenue and Fullerton from Aug. 4 to 7 in Elmwood Park.
“The Taste is a fun community event where local restaurants, businesses, neighbors and friends come together for a weekend of food, fun, and entertainment,” said Angelo “Skip” Saviano, Elmwood Park village president. “Participation by our village’s finest restaurants has been outstanding, and the crowds continue to grow as talk of the taste spreads.”
Twenty-five food vendors are set to showcase signature menu items at the festival and several participants call Elmwood Park home. A cluster of establishments on “the circle” and a stretch of “restaurant row” eateries situated on North Avenue have transformed Elmwood Park into a local dining destination for globally inspired fare — the Taste of Elmwood Park is an ideal place to enjoy affordably priced restaurant favorites.
A bevy of notable Elmwood Park establishments including Jim and Pete’s, Café Cubano, New Star, Massa Café Italian, Gringo and Blondie and Johnnie’s are set to bring Italian, Cuban, Japanese, Chinese and Mexican fare to hungry festival goers later this week.
Jim and Pete’s, 7806 W. North Ave., has been serving customers for 81 years and the mainstay is proud to participate in this year’s taste of Elmwood Park — chefs have planned a robust menu to mark the occasion. Attendees should plan to choose between six menu favorites including a duo of risotto bites, Tuscan puffs, fresh stuffed peppers and hearty neck bone gravy. They are also offering a custom version of saccottini stuffed house made meatballs and Italian cheeses. Those looking for sweet treats at the Taste of Elmwood Park can dig into a serving of Jim and Pete’s original bread pudding.
“The invitation from Mayor Saviano and his team was fun to receive and quite special as the world and our neighborhood begins to smile with refreshed normalcy,” said Michael Bucchianeri, owner of Jim and Pete’s. “Thank You Mayor Saviano! It is quite exciting to bring our great, truly authentic Italian fare out to the community.”
In addition to Italian favorites, the Taste of Elmwood Park is bringing New Star’s best loved egg rolls, crab rangoon and California Rolls to the masses while Circle Tavern will provide toasted ravioli and sweet corn fritters. Traditionalists will appreciate that Union Tap is serving up traditional Sliders with kettle chips. Gringo and Blondie plans to offer their namesake tacos — “The Gringo” features slow roasted barbacoa beef, pickled onions, cilantro and cotija cheese.
Angelo Lollino, chef-owner of Massa Café Italiano will be serving up scoops of his award-winning gelato to help attendees cool off on a hot day. Folks looking for classic Elmwood Park fare can happily grab an Italian Beef with sweet or hot peppers from Johnnie’s or snag a junior sized pork sandwich from Russell’s Barbecue.
The 75th Avenue Market, featuring Sergio’s Seafood, made its debut at the Taste in 2019 and will return to the festival again this year. Attendees can expect to enjoy raw and baked clams, fresh shucked oysters, grilled octopus, and other Italian seafood specialties at the tent designed to mimic seafood markets in the Bronx.
“Elmwood Park has a long history of delicious dining and has long been a food destination,” said Saviano. “The Taste of Elmwood Park is a celebration of that history and the ever-evolving food landscape that we have here.”
Taste of Elmwood Park’s 1st Annual Meatball Eating Contest is set to make its debut on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 4 p.m. Twelve randomly selected contestants will vie for first, second and third place prizes at the competition hosted by ESPN 1000’s Carmen DeFalco and sponsored by Rosebud Restaurants.
The Mayor’s Cup Bocce Tournament, The Taste Lounge, Fitness at the Fest and an art market are also among the featured events during the family friendly experience. Several bands will entertain festival goers all weekend long with the event running Thursday, Aug. 4 and Friday, Aug. 5 from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6 from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 7 from noon to 10 p.m.