All hail the chefs at Versailles FareFest

By Paula Johnson

Photo: Chef David Glynn offers up Dayton Country Club cuisine at Versailles FareFest; photo: Tom Donnelly

Walking the block to my car after meeting with Michael Anthony’s sommelier and front of the house powerhouse Telisa Delligatta was like taking a stroll with the queen. Every car and passerby waved and acknowledged Telisa, calling out greetings as we passed. She’s sort of the queen of Versailles. No, not that Versailles. The one here in Ohio, home to Michael Anthony’s at the Inn at Versailles. Regular readers will remember reading my very favorable review of the restaurant (Feb. 23, 2016) a few months back. I talked with Telisa recently to get the details on FareFest, her brainchild, along with husband Michael Delligatta, chef at Michael Anthony’s, about one of the best food and wine events in the region.

This year FareFest will be held on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Versailles Alumni Scholarship Fund. “It feels really great to be able to give back to the community that has embraced Michael Anthony’s and one we’ve been part of for so many years,” Telisa says. Attendance has grown steadily as word has spread, and this year it will be capped at 1,000, which has already been reached.

I’ve compared Telsia Delligatta to the queen, and I offer this as evidence: who else but a queen could get an entire section of a state highway (State Route 47) closed down so that patrons of the festival can mingle, munch, and dance in the street? When she started the event eight years ago, she was able to convince the powers-that-be to allow her to put the road under a tent! No small feat to be sure; but then, FareFest is no small festival. Aside from fabulous food and wine, there are bands and even a separate Beer Garden featuring everything from PBR to amazing craft beer from several of Dayton’s favorite breweries.

When a noted chef and a sommelier put a festival together, you can trust that the food and drink will be a cut above your average street fair, to say the least. Chef Michael has been able to attract some of the area’s most talented and well-known chefs, and with Telisa Delligatta’s connections in the industry as a former wine rep, the two have been able to put together a stellar lineup. “There will be wines from all over the world, plus some from closer to home,” says Telisa.  She continued, “Our chefs are so generous. They donate everything! So many of them don’t really do festival events like this. But they have such a great time they ask us to come back!”

And so do the patrons. They come from all over. Rooms at The Inn at Versailles sell out months in advance. And surprisingly enough, it’s nearly impossible to get a table at Micheal Anthony’s without a reservation that night. “Even after eating and drinking, we still have folks who want to sit down and have dinner!” she says. “We have several groups all the way from Columbus who come in on party buses! And I almost forgot to mention the music – it’s great, some terrific upbeat rock and roll. We’ve got some amazing musicians who have been with us for several years including the acoustic duo Freelance and Ohio Brewed, who have become our Beer Garden house band over the years.”

So, what chefs can patrons expect to see this year? Here’s a partial list, with more to come:

Nibbles, Chef Maria Walusis

Dayton Country Club, Chef David Glynn

Katie’s Cakes

Bakehouse Bread, Steve McClain, Margaret Begg

Chefs Brian Keegan and Barb Cooley

Coldwater Café, Chef Nick Hoover,

Ghyslain Chocolatier, Ghyslain Maurais

Dayton Ohio Heritage Event & Catering

King and Sons

Michael Anthonys, Chef Michael Delligatta

Platty’s Bar and Grill

The Best Bite Grill

Ray’s Wine Spirits & Grill, Chef Tony Hause

Here’s what to know to maximize your FareFest experience: the gates come down at 2 p.m. sharp, but the music begins at 1:30. If you’ve made a reservation in advance, you can pick up your ticket at the will-call area. Your ticket gets you an armband and a glass of wine or beer. Parking is free and available on all side streets surrounding the festival. And, it’s probably a really good idea to skip breakfast that day. It’s what I plan to do. See you at FareFest, if not this year, then next!

FareFest takes place Saturday, Aug. 20 by Michael Anthony’s at The Inn, 21 W. Main St. in Versailles. For more information about FareFest or the inn, please visit or call 937.526.3020. To read Epicurean Empress Paula Johnson’s review of Michael Anthony’s at The Inn, please visit


Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at

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