Taste of Troy showcases mom and pop ops

By Kevin Tucker

Photo: Hit the streets for treats like chocolate shortcake in a cup at Taste of Troy Sept. 10

In Troy, it’s a tale of two culinary cities depending on your geographic location.

Popular restaurant chains decorate the landscape near the interstate on the town’s western fringe, hoping to beckon through their doors ravenous travelers crisscrossing the country. On the interior, many local restaurateurs have firmly embedded themselves within the heart of Miami’s county seat.

While it may seem like a David vs. Goliath scenario, the “little guys” have been given their symbolic slingshot in the form of the annual Taste of Troy celebration.

Slated for Saturday, the Taste of Troy has been a featured city event in some framework for more than a decade, according to Troy Main Street’s Shelly Calvert. It originated as an artist’s fair with a food element added, but has progressed with the addition of food vendors and entertainment into its own standalone experience. Coinciding with the Taste of Troy this year will be the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the Downtown Troy Farmer’s Market, and Second Story Secrets, a limited chance to take a peek of what’s going on upstairs in downtown Troy.

Besides food offerings from many local eateries, Taste will feature a beer garden providing a wide variety of craft beers, as well as musical entertainment throughout the event headlined by Funky G and the Groove Machine.

“We are excited this year for the collaboration between events, as well as the extended hours for the band and beer garden,” Calvert says. “Troy is such a welcoming community and Taste of Troy is a great way to see all there is to offer in our downtown.”

Vendors will present an eclectic array of menu items featuring up to three offerings per participating restaurant. Patrons can expect cuisine ranging from Italian, Mexican, American, Asian, bistro-style, desserts, and more.

“Taste of Troy is a family friendly event that allows people to sample the amazing variety of culinary fare our local restaurants offer,” Calvert explains. “We have very talented chefs in Troy offering everything from fine dining to trendy casual appetizers.”

Steve Smith’s the Caroline restaurant is located mere steps away from where Saturday’s festivities will take place. At their booth, visitors will find Bourbon mushrooms, New England clam chowder, and Too Gouda salad (mixed greens, Granny Smith apples, ground pecans, smoked Gouda cheese, and dried cranberries tossed with a creamy, balsamic dressing).

This will be the ninth year in which Smith has participated in the event, and while it’s a lot of hard work to get ready, he feels that it’s well worth it.

“We always enjoy participating…it’s a chance to see new customers and let them see what your restaurant is all about,” he explains. “Troy is becoming more of a destination. There’s a real hometown feel to this event, and there are enough locals here to make it work.”

Depending on the weather, Calvert says the event can draw several thousand people to the city center. Coordinated by Troy Main Street, it takes from four to six months to put together.

According to Basil’s on Market owner Todd Uhlir, much of the event’s popularity stems from the fact that people are more food aware these days, looking for variety, and want to support the “little guys.”

“I think you get better quality from local restaurants…it’s not mass-produced,” he says. “More people today are foodies, and they want something different. At the chains, you always know what you’re going to get. Plus, by eating local it’s a chance to support neighbors, friends, and families.”

Basil’s will feature pulled pork tostadas with chili-lime kale slaw topped with an Asian drizzle at its booth, as well as jalapeno artichoke chicken dip served with Saratoga chip as part of its abbreviated festival menu.

Troy Mayor Mike Beamish is a faithful Taste of Troy attendee and relishes the opportunity to show off his hometown.

“We feature our local restaurants, as well as our downtown businesses. It is an event that brings people throughout our region into Troy. This provides an economic value and return to our small businesses,” Beamish beams. “This event showcases the ‘living room’ of our community…the beautiful downtown with all its ambiance.”

The Taste of Troy will be held in downtown Troy from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. The band Funky G and the Groove Machine will play from 4-8 p.m. Tickets for food tastes and drinks may be purchased at the Troy Main Street booth, which will be located on the west side of the downtown roundabout on Main Street. Tickets are $1 each, and most samples range from 1-3 tickets. For more information, please contact Troy Main Street at 937.339.5455 or troymainstreet.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Kevin Tucker atKevinTucker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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