A taste of something local

Taste of Troy spotlights local eateries

By Katie Christoff

Photo: Taste of Troy takes place Sept. 19 in Downtown Troy; photo: Tall James Photography

Lately, the words “tasty” and “trendy” are one in the same—gourmet food festivals are popping up all over the country boasting the latest (and most exclusive) treats.

The nearby city of Troy was a trendsetter in this way; it’s produced a summer food festival for longer than its current event coordinator can even remember.

“That’s a really good question,” says event coordinator Katherine Hayes, when I begin our interview by asking how long this tradition has taken place. “The last file I can find is from 2001, so it’s at least been going on since then,” she laughs.

This is Hayes’ first time serving as event organizer, but she recognizes the deeply traditional nature of this event—which highlights local chefs, eateries and food items.

“Taste of Troy showcases local flavors in Troy,” she emphasizes. “It’s all local restaurants, all locally owned—there are no chains, or even local franchises.”

The emphasis, then, is as much on local ideas as it is businesses.

The event organizers at Troy Main Street also focus on locally-owned businesses, chains excluded, to showcase local produce and other food products.

“It really highlights local food producers—we show the next step of people that have prepared food at [farmers’] markets,” Hayes says.

So not only does the festival attempt to boost the local economy of Troy, it also seeks to benefit local farmers whose products end up in these participating restaurants.

Troy Main Street also runs a farmers’ market Saturdays throughout the summer, and the city plans it so that Taste of Troy runs on the final Saturday farmers’ market of the year. The idea is that locals can buy fresh produce, and also watch that local produce become the creations of local chefs later in the day.

Although Taste of Troy is a longstanding tradition in the community, Hayes says it’s updating and changing every year.

“New restaurants open up over the years, so there’s always a resurgence of local food and local restaurants,” she says. “Every year we seem to have one more.”

This year, more than 15 restaurants have signed up to participate in Taste of Troy, including La Piazza, The Duck Wagon, The Cakery, Loudmouth Burgers, The Caroline, Mojos, Basil’s on Market and the Troy Country Club.

In addition to some new participants, Hayes says even more new and exciting changes await this year–for the first year ever, chefs will be able to prepare foods on site.

“In the past, prepared food was brought in and kept warm,” she says. “This year you’ll be able to see local chefs in action cooking at their booths.”

Live-action cooking isn’t the only new addition. This year will also be the first year that Taste of Troy will boast a beer (and wine) garden. Beer taps will have both craft and regular brews available for the enjoyment of local beer geeks (over 21!), and will be located at the Northwest quadrant of the Public Square. There will also be seating and live entertainment, for the entirety of the event, in the beer garden at Prouty Plaza.

Food and drink tickets at the event cost $1 each, and Hayes says most food and drink items go for 1-3 tickets.

Finally, as if there weren’t enough ties to the community already, Taste of Troy has partnered with a local walk to end Alzheimer’s, taking place the very same day.

“We’re running a special cross-promotion,” Hayes says. “Anyone at the walk gets three free food tickets. We’re hoping people who regularly attend one will attend the other, and have some fun.”

Hayes encourages everyone in the Dayton area to make the trip to Troy, enjoy the festival and eat some local treats.

“We really hope people come out and enjoy,” she says. “There’s really amazing food in the area. And, you get to watch it transition from fresh produce to prepared food.”

Local emphasis, indeed.

Taste of Troy will take place Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Troy at West Main St. and Prouty Plaza. Admission is free and open to the public, and food and drink tickets can be purchased on site the day of the festival. For more information, please visit troymainstreet.org.

 

 

Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Christoff at KatieChristoff@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

 

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