Do you love dining out in Chester County, but always have difficulty picking just one restaurant? You can sample as many as your heart desires at the 31st Annual Chester County Restaurant Festival on Sept. 19 from noon to 5:30 pm.
Booths from more than 60 restaurants — serving everything from deep-fried lobster mac and cheese bites to chicken cheesesteak wontons — will be lined up on Gay Street between Matlack Street and Darlington Street in West Chester.
According to West Chester Parks and Recreation Department director Keith Kurowski and intern Renee Ryan, the department encouraged restaurants to offer smaller portions of creative dishes at lower prices, so festival-goers can enjoy more of what the festival has to offer. This year, participants can text in their votes for their favorite dishes for the WC Dish Choice Awards.
Looking for a way to burn off all of those delicious calories? Bring your dancing shoes over to the stage arenas at Gay and Matlack streets, Gay and Darlington streets and the “Church Street Café.” There will also be 110 arts and crafts and non-profit booths woven along High Street from Matlack Street to Chestnut Street.
Thirsty visitors can enjoy a fresh pint or glass of wine at the “Church Street Cafe” on the corner of Market and Church streets. There is a $3 cover to get into this beer and wine garden, and it goes directly to the Parks and Rec Summer Camp Fund. Visit http://www.wcdish.com/ for performance schedules and to see this year’s participating restaurants.
“West Chester is the hub of Chester County, and this is the biggest event of the year for the borough,” Kurowski said. “The best part is the cook-off aspect. It is not too often that chefs get to do their thing in front of large crowds, right on the Courthouse steps.”
From 2 to 5 p.m. on the steps of the County Courthouse (2 N. High St.), four local chefs will be judged by a jury of four local food experts to determine the best chef in Chester County. The ever-popular Chester County Culinary Challenge consists of three rounds: Appetizer, entrée and dessert. Each round will last 30 minutes and a surprise ingredient donated by Buy Fresh, Buy Local will be introduced at the beginning of each round.
Margaret Andraos, co-owner of The Mediterranean, placed second in the Culinary Cook-off last year with her crab cakes over portobello mushrooms, vegetable and potato frittata, and apple and pear cobbler. Andraos is constantly including seasonal and locally grown foods into her menu. The Mediterranean has participated in the Restaurant Festival for the past 11 years and has quite the history with the event.
“We love the Restaurant Festival. Actually, our first day of business was on the Restaurant Festival [13 years ago] and lots of people who know us and worked for us over the years show up. It’s a huge celebration for us,” Andraos said.
Last year, about 22,000 people attended the festival, so be sure to get there early to beat the lines. The only food not included in the festival is pet food, so please leave your four-legged friends at home. For the special price of $2, participants can park all day at any of the borough parking garages.
WC Dish is all about celebrating food in Chester County! Recipes, foodie news restaurant reviews and more.