The capital celebrated the second day of the Hartford Festival of Taste on Saturday with more than 25 different restaurants and cultures to choose from.
It’s a festival that’s coming to downtown Hartford for the first time in 20 years and works to support Connecticut Foodshare as well as many small businesses in the Greater Hartford area.
“So many people don’t realize the number of food insecure people in Connecticut, so this is an opportunity to raise awareness and support as well,” spokeswoman Jeannette Dardenne said.
People were able to try their favorite dishes or go international with Jamaican, Japanese or Peruvian dishes. Proceeds have also supported new businesses that have opened and are recovering from the pandemic.
One such restaurant is the Jamaican Jerk Shack, which opened three years ago in August. Owner Shawn McDonald says he started with 2 employees and now has a team of eight.
“It’s really great. It’s good because the number one key for me is exposure,” McDonald said.
While downtown Hartford has hosted food festivals in the past, this is the first Hartford Taste Festival with nearly 90% of Hartford’s restaurants represented. Visitors said they were eager to eat and give back.
“The food is excellent. We went to the republic and had their spring rolls. “It was delicious. We’re waiting for stuff to come over there at Fornarelli. And we were looking forward to that because you get to taste a bit of everything,” said Frank Belknap from Manchester.
People also enjoyed the live shows. Nearly 20 musical numbers took the stage throughout the day to create the entire downtown scene.