Video transcript: Script
By Zach Staton SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Setting up for his 15th Taste of Syracuse, Tony Albanese is thankful he’s been part of the long-running summer culinary extravaganza.
“When we applied, they had room to take us on back then,” Albanese said sitting at a booth cornered by a red brick wall inside his Tony’s Family Restaurant. “Now, it’s gotten so big it’s probably tough to get in.”
On Friday, the 22nd Taste of Syracuse kicks off in downtown Syracuse. The event has grown from a single-parking lot to four different locations in and around Clinton Square. More than 70 restaurants and food vendors will be present. In 2017, Taste of Syracuse reported 225,000 attended the two-day occasion.
“It’s helpful for our catering business, especially,” Albanese said. “The exposure and getting your product out there helps a lot.”
While the exposure is nice, the path to get ready for the event is not simple. Most restaurant crews have to work weeks in advance to start the preparation for Taste of Syracuse.
“I really have it down to a science,” Mission Restaurant owner Stephen Morrison said. “I already know, at this point, all of the equipment we’re going to need, all of the order that has to be done ahead of time and all of the food preparation.”
Even with all of that work, sometimes the businesses do not always reap the rewards of Syracuse’s first summer festival.
“What happens is that the Taste is so big and so popular now that it kind of hurts the downtown restaurants a little bit,” Morrison said. “The one’s that maybe aren’t around the Armory Square.”
However, the chance to put their food in front of so many people is worth it to many restaurant owners. Even if visitors just take advantage of the $1 samples, they’re still making an impression.
“We may not be selling as many burritos as we want to, but I like to give people something good for their money,” Morrison said. “I’ve been told we have a good dollar sample, so I’m proud of that.”
Food will not be the only thing visitors will see during the weekend. A list of 34 bands will perform Friday and Saturday, including Smash Mouth known for hits such as “All Star” and “Walking on the Sun.”