Sunday's annual Taste of Ann Arbor restaurant showcase features culinary and musical treats
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file photo
More than 40 restaurants will be offering visitors a sampling of what they do best, said Maura Thomson of the Main Street Area Association, which is presenting the annual community celebration from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Main Street between William and Washington streets. And this year, a related event will offer a musical "taste of Ann Arbor" in the evening.
“The mission of the Main Street Area Association is to keep our downtown vibrant and healthy. I put these events on because I want to connect people to their downtown. I want people to come down here and have a great experience so they want to come back,” Thomson said.
“You have restaurants like Vinology, Real Seafood, La Dolce Vita—you can taste anything they make and the maximum you are going to spend is $4.” Volunteers from the Michigan Theater will be on hand to sell the Taste tickets, which start at 50 cents each; food items are sold for X number of tickets.
Taste of Ann Arbor has been growing year by year, and is open to all local restaurants, not just those situated downtown.
“We have to turn restaurants away,” Thomson said. “The only criteria is that the restaurant is located in Ann Arbor, and of course we give priority to members of the Main Street Area Association.”
She also said Taste of Ann Arbor attracts more locals than out-of-towners.
“Because it is just a one-day event, being from 11-5 and because it’s Sunday I would say it’s definitely more geared towards being a community event,” Thomson said.In addition to food and music, representatives of The Ann Arbor District Library will be on hand to promote its summer reading program. There will also be hula-hooping, sidewalk art and bean-bag tossing, and representatives of the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum will be on hand.
Event sponsors are Bank of Ann Arbor, Big George’s Home Appliance Mart, Renewal by Andersen and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.
Besides treats for the palate, Taste of Ann Arbor will also offer music.
The Bank of Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch stage will be located at the intersection of Main and Liberty streets. Music will run from 11a.m.- 5 p.m. with performances by Nicole P’Simer (acoustic folk/soul), Abigail Stauffer (acoustic singer-songwriter), The Appleseed Collective (Americana-folk-jazz), The Juliets (Detroit pop) and Hotels & Highways (singer-songwriter trio) with Mia Dyson.
Matthew Altruda, host of the weekly local music radio show “Tree Town Sound,” put together the afternoon’s musical talent and will introduce the bands.
He also booked the talent for a special “Taste of Tree Town Sound” show Sunday from 8 p.m.-midnight at the Blind Pig. Scheduled to perform are Erin Zindle (of The Ragbirds), Chris Bathgate, Absofacto, Matt Jones, Laith Al-Saadi, Nickie P., Abigail Stauffer, Hotels & Highways, Misty Lyn, Wolfie Complex, Mark Fain (of Gun Lake), Heroes On Parade, Match by Match and Kimberly Grambo.
It’s the first time a local music show is being offered to complement Taste of Ann Arbor, Altruda said, adding that the concept is similar in that those attending can enjoy savory samplings of Ann Arbor-area musical talent. Each group or performer will offer 3-4 songs each.
“I am so passionate about the bands that I play,” said Altruda, “that I want people to come out and hear a couple songs live, be blown away from that taste, then go out and support them for a full show.”
Taste of Ann Arbor - Participating restaurants:
Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Mani Osteria and Bar
Rocky Mountain Chocolate
Silvio's Organic Pizza
The Ravens Club
Arbor Brewing Company
BD's Mongolian Barbecue
Jamaican Jerk Pit
Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub
Real Seafood Company
La Dolce Vita
Carson's American Bistro
Miki Japanese Restaurant
The Melting Pot
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Whole Foods Market
Buffalo Wild Wings
Mahek Indian Cuisine