“I would describe it as Alpharetta’s huge dinner party downtown,” said Kim Dodson, the city’s special events manager.
A wide variety of selections from sweet to savory will be offered from booths set up from 5 to 10 p.m. along Milton Avenue and Roswell, Old Roswell, Canton and Old Canton streets.
Food samples vary from 50 cents to $3. Dodson expects between 40,000 to 50,000 visitors to come out.
“We draw from our community … [and] people around Alpharetta,” she said. “It’s really neat in a downtown setting. It gives a chance for our downtown businesses to showcase what they’re about also.”
Dodson said the 53 restaurants this year include several new participants. Restaurateur Michael Field, however, is not new to the game. He said he has participated in the Taste of Alpharetta at least a dozen times. His eatery Wildflour on Windward Parkway in Alpharetta is a repeat “best dessert” winner during the event’s culinary competition.
Field said the Taste of Alpharetta is the best advertisement a local restaurant can get to attract new clientele.
“You’re getting to the customers directly,” he said. “You’re going to get a 25 percent increase in your business over the next three to four weeks after the Taste.”
While it is beneficial on the business end, he said visitors have the advantage of experiencing several flavors and cooking techniques and discovering new restaurants — all at minimal cost.
At this year’s event, Field will offer samples of his chicken poblano chowder and a coconut curry dish named “The Prodeep.” He will concoct a lemon dessert to enter in the cooking competition.
The culinary battles will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Roswell Street. Chefs will face off to earn bragging rights for the best salad/appetizer, best fast casual entrée, best fine dining entrée, best dessert, best presentation and best booth.
Festival attendees will also vote for their favorite restaurant to win the people’s choice award, Dodson said.
In addition to all the food tasting and demonstrations, attendees can also enjoy live concerts by Larkin Poe and Saints of Valory. Children will find special entertainment at two “fun zones” where there will be obstacle courses, slides, rock climbing, balloon art, sand art, face painting, henna and more.
If you go:
What: Taste of Alpharetta
Where: Across from Alpharetta City Hall at 2 South Main Street
When: May 9, 5 to 10 p.m.
Cost: Food samples vary from $0.50 to $3
Information: www.alpharetta.ga.us or (678) 297-6000