Taste of Syracuse
Special Events,  Syracuse

Taste of Syracuse: Central New York’s BEST Food Festival

Post originally published on June 2, 2017. Updated and republished on June 6, 2019.

Most Syracusians believe that the Taste of Syracuse is the unofficial start to summer in Syracuse. This beloved festival gets all of Central New York truly out of winter hibernation over the universal love of food. Vendors and restaurants from around the area set up booths to display some of their finest foods. The best part? Every stand offers a $1 sample. So basically you can hop from booth to booth all day and night and have the most diversified meal of the year.

Taste of Syracuse Crowd

I’ve been attending Taste for well over a decade. I look forward to it for months, plotting out what samples I want to try and in what order. I always end up going with friends and running into so many people I know. There have been years of bad weather, years of mediocre music, and years of ridiculous crowds. But it’s always a guaranteed good time. Even better? Now I work right in the here of downtown, and the festival is literally right outside my building. This may be dangerous…. in the best possible way!

New Vendors for 2019

Gilligan’s Ice Cream – Will they feature their beer-flavored ice cream? Guess I’ll have to go to find out!

Bang Cookies – To go with my ice cream from Gilligan’s! Guess I’m all set.

Route 31 Smokehouse – a new BBQ joint in Clay, NY inside Great Northern Mall.

Skip’s Fish Fry – from the city with some of the most notable seafood restaurants around, Oswego!

Luna Cafe, the new cat cafe coming to Syracuse in 2020, will also be premiering at the Taste of Syracuse with their BBQ meatballs.
What’s a cat cafe? A super popular trend in Japan! Check out the one I visited last September.

Yearly Favorites

“Dizzy Pig” Donuts

Glazed and Confused

Glazed & Confused Donuts debuted on opening day of Taste of Syracuse in 2017, with their “Dizzy Pig”, a maple bacon bourbon donut. They knew what they were doing because it was the PERFECT thing for National Donut Day (and will be again this year!). Everyone was pleased to find that the sample was an entire donut, not just a typical small sample piece. Props to Glazed & Confused! They were so successful, it gave them the boost they needed to open up their brick & mortar shop. It’s now one of the most famous eateries in Syracuse and regularly has celebrity visitors!

Risotto Bombs

Another favorite of mine are the risotto bombs from Peppino’s. Oh my goodness they are yummy, perfectly covered in marinara. Better yet, give me five. Please and thank you.

Bacon Bombs

If you call a food item a “bomb”, it gets all the attention! This one is packed with meat and wrapped in bacon! *Not vegetarian friendly*

Garlic Parm Pierogies

Moose Shack has fantastic garlic parm pierogies – 2 for $3 – that are delicious! My Polish heritage was ecstatic to try it!

Modern Diner Eats

If you know me, you know it’s no secret how much I love Rise N Shine Diner in East Syracuse. It’s also one of my “Most Instagrammable Spots in Syracuse!” This year they’ve got some FANTASTIC dishes and samples being showcased at Taste. I have to say, I’m super excited about the pancake cone! *Salivating*

Toss & Fire Pizza

You can never go wrong with Toss & Fire Wood-Fired Pizza. Their signature sample is their salt potato pizza. Yum! Potatoes, cheese, and bacon on a wood-fired pizza? They have they key to my heart!

Bang Bang Shrimp

The longest line at Taste of Syracuse is almost always at Bonefish Grill for the bang bang shrimp. I’m not a big seafood lover, but everyone raves about them! Still, I’d much rather support local.

Taste of Syracuse I Love NY

Music

Both days of the festival are full of music – spread across three different stages. Featuring both local and nationally known bands, there’s sure to be something you like! This year the main stage features my local favorite, Root Shock, and an old favorite, Sugar Ray.

NYC in CNY

Nathans Hot Dogs

What’s the most interactive booth? Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. Representing Coney Island down near NYC, Nathan’s has a whole area set up with games and things for both kids and adults! An inflatable giant slide, a mini carousel, skee ball, basketball, video games, a fast pitch net, and a Zoltar fortune teller. Score high enough in any of them and you’re going home with a foam hot dog hat! And let’s not forget the free hot dog samples. They were perfect. If that’s not enough, they have a hotdog eating contest on Saturday. Better save room!

The Taste of Syracuse only lasts for two days each year – Friday and Saturday of the first full weekend in June from 11am to 11pm each day. Make sure you don’t miss it! The event is FREE to attend, and is great for people watching too. If you look carefully, you can easily find free parking, so don’t be tricked into paying just to be a block closer. Go grab your closest friends and head downtown this Friday & Saturday!

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