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Upper West Side
Credit: Taste of the Upper West Side

Truth be told, if I had to choose my favorite part of Manhattan for food, it would be the Upper West Side.  So many of my reviews here on Manhattan Digest have been in this neck of the woods, and when there is a time of year to celebrate how amazing it is, you know darn well that I’ll be there.  This weekend is the 10th Annual Taste of the Upper West Side, which is a fabulous two-night culinary celebration featuring more than 85 restaurants and fantastic celebrity talent!  Yippee!

Credit to: Levain Bakery

The event itself is simply a love letter to The Upper West Side, where you will get to try some of the best food from restaurant we have come to know and love here at Manhattan Digest.  This include previously reviewed places like Jacob’s Pickles, Bettola, Levain Bakery, BUSTAN, Burke & Wills, and so many more that you will need to come hungry and prepared for because it will be the absolute bomb.

Manhattan, Manhattan Digest, Jacob's Pickles
Credit to: Jacob’s Pickles

Not to mention some high power Food Network personalities will be in the house both nights, including Adam Richman and Alex Guarnaschelli to name a few.  At the helm of Taste of the Upper West Side is the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (“BID”), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit which created the event and donates all net proceeds to the local community for neighborhood improvement and beautification. In nine years, Taste of the Upper West Side has raised more than $500,000 for organizations improving the UWS.

Bettola
Credit: Bettola

I spoke with executive director of the BID Barbara Adler about the excitement building around this event and what people can expect come next weekend!

So Barbara, how long have you been involved in this particular event?

Since its inception!  This is our 10th annual event, and we came up with the idea about 10 years ago because for so long there were hardly any restaurants on the Upper West Side, and then people like Daniel Boulud, Jean-Gorges and others started moving to this area. It suddenly put the Upper West Side on the map.  This is how we came up with this idea of celebrating the restaurants in this area as the interest level has spiked over the past decade.

Kirsh, Kirsh NYC
Credit: Kirsh Bakery & Kitchen

What can our readers expect over the weekend at this event?

Well, we have about 40 fantastic restaurants coming each night, each being a different set.  We also have wonderful hosts, such as this coming Friday night we have our special guest Frank Bruni, who was the New York Times chief restaurant critic and will be there to promote his newest book “A Meatloaf in Every Oven: Two Chatty Cooks, One Iconic Dish and Dozens of Recipes – from Mom’s to Mario Batali’s”.

You also have a couple of fabulous Food Network personalities stopping by.  Can you tell me a little more about that?

Sure! We have Adam Richman coming back.  He’s been here many times, he loves our events.  He has his own lounge at the event, and Alex Guarnaschelli, who we all know and love and has her Butter restaurant here in Manhattan.  She will be there as well signing her book.  On Saturday night, we have April Bloomfield & Ken Friedman, they own The Spotted Pig and most recently her first Upper West Side restaurant, White Gold Butchers.

Credit: Taste of the Upper West Side

I know these events have a charitable tie-in, which is fantastic.   What charities is this event supporting?

We dedicate every penny that we make from this event back to the community in the form of various projects that we overtake.  For instance, we have donated close to $90,000 to Theodore Roosevelt Park, which had a big rat problem within it which has now gone a long way in eradicating that issue in part because of the donations.

What is the biggest reason why people should show up to this?

First of all, you are supporting a great cause.  It is a great meet and greet event, where neighbors meet neighbors, but all are welcome!  The food is also fantastic, how can you go wrong!  And your ticket is even tax deductible, what can be any better?

For more information on the Taste of the Upper West Side, check out their official website.  Happy eating!