Newbies The Meatball Shop and Treat House will be part of the festival's "Comfort Classics" event on Friday, May 30, co-hosted by the Travel Channel host Adam Richman and Alex Guarnaschelli, a Food Network regular and executive chef at Butter and The Darby.
Saturday night's "Best of the West" ratchets up the fanciness with samples from more upscale local restaurants, including Dovetail, Daniel, Lincoln Ristorante and Tavern on the Green. New hot spots Tessa and Red Farm will also pass out bites from their menus Saturday.
Dozens of restaurateurs volunteer to haul in hundreds of samples of their best dishes because it brings them such great exposure, said the BID's executive director, Barbara Adler.
"It’s really good for their business," she said." It’s a unique opportunity to meet people."
The event, now in its seventh year, is typically a fundraising opportunity for the BID, Adler added. Proceeds from the $105 Friday night tickets and $135 Saturday night tickets go toward local beautification projects like the Columbus Avenue Streetscape, as well as local nonprofits.
The BID was able to raise $10,000 for the nutrition program Wellness in Schools last year from the festival.
In addition to the weekend festival, a "Soirée in the Park" featuring champagne, live music and appetizers from Corvo Bianco, Loi, Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto and Calle Ocho will be held on Tuesday, May 27, at Theodore Roosevelt Park in front of the American Museum of Natural History.
All proceeds from the $150 tickets from the Tuesday evening event will go to a local working group that's been organized to revitalize and modernize the park. Last year, the "Soirée in the Park," raised $27,000, Adler said.
Tickets for the entire festival — to be held at the O'Shea School Yard on Columbus Avenue between West 76th and 77th streets — are on sale here.