Digging Into Addison’s Food-Fest Revamp

By Farah Fleurima  |  February 21, 2014
Credit: Town of Addison

Earlier this month, the town of Addison - home to family-friendly festival fare such as July 4’s Kaboom Town - announced it was completely overhauling its yearly food fest. Taste Addison, mid-May’s massively attended booth crawl featuring eats from dozens of Dallas-area restaurants, is no more, being replaced this year by Fork & Cork, a smaller, more epicure-centered weekend event spotlighting chefs, wines, spirits and craft brews. Almost immediately, fans of Taste Addison decried the retooling, with some pointing to the jump in ticket price as well as the new 21-and-up rule. Others have lauded the coming rebrand as more in-tune with the times. Here we take a fork and knife to the pending plans and get to the meat of it all.

What’s Going Away: Taste Addison was a sprawling event that spread out restaurant booths all over Addison Circle Park. Entry to it cost $5 to $15, depending on what time you landed and whether you snagged discount passes. Once inside, guests could buy samples of food from area restaurants using tickets bought at stands throughout the park; plates of grub would run from $4 to $9 on average. Meanwhile, live music acts would play on the giant Dos Equis stage.

What We’ll Miss/What We Won’t: If you timed your landing right, you could make a reasonably priced, supremely casual evening out of traipsing through Addison Circle Park and noshing. However, while sampling food from Addison’s indie gems like Thai Star and Chamberlain’s pleased our palates, the presence of a lot of chain restaurants did not.

What’s Coming: Fork & Cork promises a cozier atmosphere, and it should get it, thanks to the exclusion of kiddos and a much higher ticket price: Friday night entry is $65, with Saturday admission costing $35. F&C is also offering a limited number of $100 VIP tickets. Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson is set to make a number of appearances, and country singer Pat Green will provide the tunes.

What We'll Likely Love/What We'll Likely Not: While the ticket price is hiking up, Fork & Cork reps are quick to point out that guests will get much more of a gourmet experience. Friday’s ticket price will include bites from local restaurants, for example, and Saturday’s centerpiece will be a Grand Tasting Tent, with samples available for purchase. And those VIP tix? Say hello to hands-on cooking classes, a demo with Samuelsson, mingling with chefs and valet parking. In its announcement, Addison notes: “After brand research and focus groups, it was clear that patrons wanted a more culinary-focused event where they can participate alongside celebrity chefs while celebrating the world of taste.” Since the participating restaurants haven’t been announced, we can’t say how gourmet this new event will actually be, but given the new price point, we're crossing our fingers for a finely curated resto list.

The Lowdown: Bring on the gastronomic goodness and color us excited, Addison! Since Fork & Cork’s cost and age minimum will keep away some of its former fan base (read: families and budget diners), the biggest test will be whether the revamp can draw enough savvy foodies from Dallas to make up for the sheer number of folks who won’t be attending this year. We imagine there are more announcements on the horizon before mid-May, including that anticipated restaurant list, so we'll fine-tune our speculation in the months ahead.