Taste of Newark hosts its 13th consecutive festival
The Taste of Newark Food and Wine Festival attendees spent Sunday afternoon taking a bite out of every eatery in the area.
In its 13th year, the festival had booths for nearly 50 of Newark’s best restaurants and wineries on Old College lawn. All restaurants on Main Street were in attendance, including others such as catering from the Courtyard Marriott, Waffle House and Blue Crab Grill.
Sheryl Kline, department chair for Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, said all restaurants in Newark are invited to the festival as it’s a great way to let the citizens of Newark know about what they offer.
“Let’s say you’ve never been to Duck Donuts, this is the chance to realize what you like from there and now go there for breakfast,” Kline said. “They get more customers from this.”
Aside from the food and drink, festival foodies enjoyed live music, a demonstration from award-winning SoDel Concepts chef Ronnie Burkle on how to cook lobster and a silent auction of local art.
Among all the samplings served at the event, Kline said the Newark Courtyard Marriott’s crab cakes are always a hit.
“They’ve been ranked six years in a row as the best so people run to that booth,” Kline said. “Sometimes you see people pushing to get them, it’s always fun to watch.”
Claudia Scalia, event sales manager for the Marriott, said the Taste of Newark Festival is always a great place to serve their food.
“Our crab cakes have no breading whatsoever, it’s all gluten-free and there’s a secret ingredient that Chef Mark puts in there,” Scalia said.
Kline also said some of the event’s restaurants end up hiring the HRIM students who volunteer to help at the festival. She said being able to say, as a student, that you helped run a food festival is how you get a job.
Theo Berner, a freshman HRIM student and festival volunteer, said the event is a great way to get into restaurant management and event planning.
“It’s a great way to get involved and help the community of Newark,” Berner said. “My favorite part is at the end when there’s a lot of leftovers the volunteers go around to all different stations and get to pick up some food.”
Kline said the festival was originally created to create a better relationship between the city and the university. She said when the festival began the relationship was not as strong as it is now but the festival continues to improve the partnership.
“We are unique because many universities don’t coexist well with their cities, but UD and the city now coexist well and this is one way we continue that,” Kline said. “It’s also become a tradition for Newark — everyone has to go at some point.”
Proceeds from the festival benefit the Department of Hospitality Business Management, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, the Downtown Newark Partnership and the Newark Arts Alliance.