Georgetown food and drink vendors offering samples of their in-house menus filled K Street for the 26th Taste of Georgetown food festival Sept. 22.
This was the fourth year that Washingtonian, a regional lifestyle magazine, hosted the self-described “epicurean festival,” which was sponsored by Infiniti. Previously, the Georgetown Business Improvement District, an organization of community business owners, organized the event. Over 30 Georgetown restaurants participated this year.
Admission to the festival was free, but patrons were able to purchase individual taste tickets to redeem for one food sample and beer or wine pour at a booth of their choice.
Washingtonian expected about 8,000 to 10,000 visitors, and the sunny weather seemed to have brought them out, Washingtonian Events and Marketing intern Maya Ettleson said.
“It looks like it’s doing really well. Last year it was rainy, so they didn’t have a huge turnout,” Ettleson said in an interview with The Hoya. “In comparison to that, we’re doing a lot better.”
Planning Taste of Georgetown entails inviting every restaurant in Georgetown to participate, collecting the names of those who responded and getting the necessary permits from the city, according to Ettleson. The festival requires permits because vendors served food and alcohol and the event closed down K Street.
Proceeds from the festival benefited Georgetown Ministry Center, a local nonprofit organization providing shelter and services to people experiencing homelessness. Former Grace Episcopal Church Rector David Bird and church member Robert Egger founded Taste of Georgetown. Together, they went on to found D.C. Central Kitchen, a nonprofit fighting hunger and unemployment in at-risk communities.
Washington, D.C. resident Monet Williams appreciated the festival’s outreach efforts and engagement with the community.
“I like it whenever Georgetown does something that’s community-oriented, [like] outreach to the homeless,” Dunn said in an interview with The Hoya.
Taste of Georgetown allowed patrons to interact more closely with vendors than the larger H Street Festival, which D.C. resident Kevon Dunn had visited the day before.
“I actually had never done the event before,” Dunn said in an interview with The Hoya. “It was intimate — more intimate than H Street. It’s just a beautiful vibe, and D.C. is beautiful.”
Food and drink vendors like The Sovereign, a Wisconsin Avenue bar and restaurant, jumped at the chance to participate and engage with the community, according to The Sovereign’s manager Dylan Pitcher.
“We are a neighborhood restaurant,” he said in an interview with The Hoya. “It’s very important to us that we make an impact and we give as much back as the community gives to us, and we think being a part of Taste of Georgetown is a part of that.”
The Sovereign brought their best food and drink samples and drew plenty of visitors, Pitcher said.
“The crowd’s been great. We’ve been serving our classic Belgian-style waffles. We do a classic dessert waffle,” he said. “The other thing that we like to do is we like to point out some of the unique beers we have to our guests that come up here.”
Dunn also enjoyed his visit but noted that the event could benefit from expanding its offerings.
“I’ve been here maybe twice before, but it’s been a while since I’ve been back. It’s Georgetown, I like the ambiance, so why not?” he said. “I just wish it was bigger. H Street Festival was yesterday — this isn’t on the scale of it, but for what it is — I really do like it.”
The next neighborhood for D.C.-area foodies to explore is Bethesda. Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc., will hold “Taste of Bethesda,” which promises to attract 60 restaurants and 40,000 attendees, Oct. 5.