Here’s what’s new this year at Taste of Atlanta 2019

The annual celebration of all things food runs October 18 through 20

Hattie B’s hot chicken at Taste of Atlanta in 2018

Courtesy of Taste of Atlanta

Food sampling event Taste of Atlanta is returning to Historic Fourth Ward Park from October 18 through 20. The festival has something for everyone, from international bites from Buford Highway restaurants to hearty tailgate fare. There will be drinks, cooking demonstrations, and a first-ever Taste of Atlanta concert. Here are the highlights:

Opening Night Party
Friday, October 18, 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
Price: $75 in advance, $85 at the door

This all-inclusive kick-off event features tastes from 28 Atlanta favorites, including the White Bull, Donetto, Tiny Lou’s, KR Steakbar, Twisted Soul, Mission + Market, and Bellina Alimentari. Attendees must be age 21 or older, as beer, wine, and cocktail tastings are provided.

“It’s the best list we’ve had in a while,” Taste of Atlanta founder and CEO Dale DeSena says. “It’s a look at local flavors. Georgia Grown is a big partner this year. At least 80 percent of the proteins, veggies, and herbs are sourced from Georgia.”

The party will be hosted by Nick Leahy, chef/owner of Aix and Tin Tin. Entertainment will be provided by Decatur rockers Moontower. And for the first time, the party will be held outside in a section of the park near Ralph McGill Boulevard.

“I’ve put in an order for cooler weather,” DeSena jokes.

Tasting Experience
Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Price: general admission: $30 in advance, $40 at the door; VIP: $80 in advance, $90 at the door

To prevent that overwhelming feeling when you walk into a festival and don’t know where to start, Taste of Atlanta has started grouping restaurants into thematic districts, such as brunch, tailgating, Buford Highway, and even Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Attendees will use points allotted on their RFID wristbands (provided upon entrance to the festival) to purchase tastes from restaurants, including Colony Square newcomer Sukoshi, the Greater Good BBQ, Joella’s Hot Chicken, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, and Northern China Eatery. Note to football fans: The tailgating district will stream the UGA game on Saturday and the Falcons game Sunday.

The star of the daytime festival, however, is the VIP section. It includes endless tastes from higher-end restaurants such as Bazati, Oceanaire, and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, along with samples of 80 wines, craft beers, and cocktails. VIP tickets provide RFID points to use in the general admission taste tents as well.

Both types of tickets include access to chef demonstrations—look for Jonathan Waxman of Brezza Cucina at the Chef’s Table stage—and competitions such as the Burger Brawl.

Yacht Rock Revue Concert
When: Saturday, October 19, 7 p.m.
Price: general admission: $40 in advance, $50 at the door; VIP: $75

“When I started Taste of Atlanta, the idea was to make our chefs the rock stars,” DeSena says. “Food and music go hand in hand. Yacht Rock Revue is Atlanta’s favorite local band.”

Attendees can bring blanket and chairs, along with cash for food truck fare. Expect to see Kajun Asian, King Kabob, South of Philly, and more. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. (VIP tickets include beverages.)