Almost a month ago, Addison announced its rebranding with a new logo and feel that has began to rollout into aspects around the city (I even saw one of the new snazzy Addison Parks service vehicles on my way to work this morning). As part of that rollout, Addison announced it would be making changes to some of the special events, most notably, the spring event. Last week the city announced that Taste Addison was being replaced with a new culinary inspired feel dubbed Fork & Cork, A Celebration of Taste, which will take place at Addison Circle Park on May 16 and 17.
Fork & Cork will be the first major change residents of Addison will see from the rebranding rollout. So what are the changes you can expect from this new event?
The main focus will still be on the food. In fact, Fork & Cork is designed for the foodie. The event will encourage chefs to go off the menu with the tastes that they will be offering. This marks a chance for attendees to sample creations that chefs from top restaurants enjoy making, even in their free time. It may be something that they are considering putting on the menu and trying it out with the crowd at Fork & Cork.
“We are truly excited to present this new endeavor that celebrates Addison’s culinary heritage,” said Barbara Kovacevich, Director of Addison Special Events. “Fork & Cork will be a great gourmet gathering—a casual but sophisticated event for people who enjoy food as entertainment. It will spotlight the culinary diversity found among Addison’s chef-driven establishments and introduce guests to a new way of thinking about food in our city.”
Culinary heritage is right. Addison, which just celebrated its 60th birthday, started becoming popular when the town went wet and began selling liquor by the drink. What ensued was Addison’s development into a restaurant mega-hub for North Texas. Restaurants would get so busy in Addison’s small four square mile radius that restaurants would put up neon signs that would illuminate “Immediate Seating” if they had an open table, not so different from a “No Vacancy” sign at a hotel. You can still see an homage to this time in Addison’s history at Belt Line’s oldest staple, Remington’s. More amazing restaurants have come in inspired by chef creations and delicious food and drink selections — think Chamberlain’s, Kenny’s and Mercy Wine Bar among the other 170 plus restaurants in business today.
Fork & Cork gets back to that chef inspired, delicious food tasting, fine drink sipping feel that Addison was founded on.
The two-day event also offers a different feel for each of the days on Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17.
On Friday night, the party starts with a 6 to 10 p.m. all-inclusive event that includes valet, food and drink tastings in the Grand Tasting Tent, which will house about 40 vendors with delicious treats to try. The $65 ticket includes valet and entrance to the event in which a portion of the proceeds go to benefit Café Momentum, “a non-profit organization that teaches critical skills that allow youth to apply what they have been taught in re-release programs in a safe, real-world environment of nurturing accountability.”
The feel of the Friday night party, which Addison’s Director of Marketing and Communications Carrie Rice described as “picnic chic,” will also feature a friendly chef competition, judged by celebrity chef Marcus Samueulsson –James Beard Award winning chef and current judge on ABC’s The Taste–, local music and also local artisans displaying their unique pieces for attendees to browse through.
Saturday at Fork & Cork, which runs from noon to 11 p.m., features a $35 general admission cost and an option for a $100 VIP upgrade. The highlight of the second day is the music — headlined by country music star Pat Green. Your $35 ticket includes the Pat Green concert, complimentary tastings from five of the great restaurants cooking on site (while supplies last), cooking demonstrations and the Grand Tasting Tent with its 40 vendors offering complimentary bites and sips.
You will also be able to purchase small plates from restaurants around Fork & Cork, but you won’t have to pay the Taste Addison prices. These small portions will only be between $1 and $5. And again, restaurants are encouraged to offer the most interesting foods on and off their menu.
The VIP tickets for Saturday will also include a meet and greet with Marcus Samuelsson, a cook book signing, interactive food and drink stations and valet, among other options that have not yet been finalized.
Don’t bring the kids to this event. The idea of Fork & Cork was a date night/girls night out/foodie extravaganza type of event. With all the craft beer, wine and spirits tasting around the grounds, the event will only allow ages 21 and up. Rice told me that while some will be upset about not being able to attend Taste Addison, there are many family friendly events, most of which are free to attend, around Addison throughout the summer and the year including the Summer Concert Series at Vitruvian Park.
Another big change will be the restaurant participation of Fork & Cork compared to Taste Addison. If you attended one day of Taste, there really wasn’t much of a point for you to attend the other two days unless you wanted to hear different music; the same options were available all three days. This year there will be 15 restaurants on site on Friday and 20 on Saturday, the kicker is that restaurants may or may not be there both days, how many days the restaurant participates is completely optional.
The restaurant list will also not be reserved for Addison only restaurants. While the focus will be primarily on Addison-based establishments, Fork & Cork will also feature chefs from across DFW. The list of restaurants has not yet been announced, but the deadline for restaurants to submit their menu, pricing and other requirements is at the end of this month.
More headliner chefs will be announced in the very near future for the event to be featured along with the celebrity, Samuelsson.
Tickets will begin going on sale for Fork & Cork in late March. Another change from Taste Addison is that the tickets will also be limited for major events like the Friday night party and VIP sales on Saturday. It will also be important to buy your tickets in advance, because walkup tickets may not be available come May 16-17.
Overall the feel of Fork & Cork is indeed a Celebration of Taste. The new event brings the foodie aspect where it seemed that Taste Addison was beginning to lack. Not only was the event designed with the foodie in mind, but the limited ticket sales and age restriction will help lines be shorter, encourage more interactivity and more exclusivity.
I, for one, am excited about the new Fork & Cork event. Stay tuned for more announcements on the event including more chefs, restaurants and participating vendors!