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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: Great Food, Big Crowds at Taste of Atlanta

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Great Food, Big Crowds at Taste of Atlanta

Organizers of Taste of Atlanta have to be thrilled with their decision to move Taste of Atlanta to the streets of Atlantic Station. Helped by a near perfect day weather-wise, the crowds began pouring onto the 17th Street Bridge shortly after noon on Saturday, and didn’t let up all afternoon. Getting there early was an absolute necessity in order to enjoy this event. Otherwise, if traffic on the downtown connector didn’t get you, the will call line or the booth lines would have.

The organizers did a great job getting some of the more upscale restaurants to participate. We sampled the Mussels Mediterranean from Au Pied de Cochan and the clam chowder from The Oceanaire Room. Fleming’s wins the award for best booth display (see picture above) and gets added props for the size of shrimp they supplied for the shrimp cocktail. The shrimp hushpuppies at Spice were delicious. Sheri Davis of Dish featured her shrimp lollipops which are very tasty. But this was third food event I had been to this year where Dish had participated, and this was served all three times. I love ya girl, but how about something different next time, like perhaps a sample of that lobster lasagna of yours?

The plate of the day in the minds of our group was the Szechuan BBQ Ribs at Roy’s. I give a lot of credit to Roy’s approach to this event, as this is a signature dish at all Roy’s restaurants, and they used this festival to put their best foot forward. Bravo, I say, and I would venture we will be coming into the restaurant soon for more!

Taste of Atlanta partnered with the Atlanta Wine School for tastings and seminars throughout the day. Unfortunately for many (including myself), these sold out well in advance, so even if you purchased a VIP ticket, you were turned away. There seems to be a big demand for these kinds of events, and the school offers various courses and a wine club for novices and enthusiasts alike. More info can be found on their website (

While turnout for the event can be definitely gauged as a success, the experience suffered by many of the paying patrons can not. I like the Atlantic Station venue for this and with a few tweaks, this event can be even better next year. Here are my recommendations:
  1. Email tickets with advance purchase to cut down on the will call line
  2. Station coupon-only ticket booths throughout the festival so people looking to buy more tickets and eat more food (and that is the goal, right?) can do so quickly.
  3. Forget the VIP pass. Food demonstration entry should be on a first-come/first served. Sell wine seminar tickets separately so those paying for that are guaranteed a seat.
  4. I like Moe’s. I really do. But is there really a need for fast-food chains to be a part of this festival? The alley where Moe’s, MamaFu’s, Doc Green’s and Waffle House were parked was a mad house full of people who probably eat there every week.
  5. Sell less festival tickets. If you succeed in encouraging more coupon purchases, you will break-even on event revenue, and probably encourage more trial for the restaurants.

Well, now that this big week is behind me, it’s back to more of a sense of normalcy. The Steakheads will be checking out the Castleberry Hill area this Saturday before the Thrashers game. Until then, Happy Eating!


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