Last night, Matthew and I attended the Small Bites, Big Dreams Gala that kicked off the Tri-C Cleveland Eats Festival. Held at the Tri-C Hospitality Management Center on Public Square and benefiting scholarships for Tri-C Hospitality Management Students, this event was the perfect reminder that our Cleveland culinary scene isn’t just about great food, but also about doing great things together.
This was one of those events where the chef from each restaurant was at the restaurant’s table serving up the delicious bites. From Rocco to Chris to Karen to Dante to Doug to Eric to Ben to Zack, these phenomenal chefs not only leant their talent, but also their time to make the event a success.
Some of our favorites of the evening: the short rib Rangoon with lime yogurt sauce from Chef Chris Hodgson, the pork belly satay with watermelon relish from Chef Rocco Whalen, the corn tostada with bay scallop and shrimp ceviche with avocado mousse from Chef Eric Williams, the elk tenderloin on a fresh corn tortilla from Chef Christopher Kafcsak, and the lobster puffs from Chef Chris Poplin.
The Tri-C Cleveland Eats Festival continues today and tomorrow on Mall B, as a celebration of the best in Cleveland cuisine. And Michael Huff, Dean of the Hospitality Management Program, told me that you can expect the same caliber of small dishes on Saturday that we enjoyed at last night’s Gala!
Here are the events:
Friday, September 15 – Trucks, Taps and Tunes Street Party
- Free admission
- Held on Mall B, it’s a happy hour street party celebrating Cleveland’s best eats
- Food trucks including Betty’s Bomb A** Burgers, Fahrenheit, Proper Pig, and Sweet! The Mobile Cupcakery
- Craft brews from Great Lakes Brewing Co., Goldhorn Brewery, The Brew Kettle, and more
- Culinary competitions featuring local high school students and Tri-C Hospitality Management staff and students will be attempting the world’s largest pierogi
- Local bands like The Big Ship and Sunrise Jones
Saturday, September 16 – The Culinary Festival
- Held on Mall B
- Over 30 chefs from restaurants such as Mabel’s BBQ, Table 45, Spice Kitchen & Bar, Bomba Tacos & Rum, Deagan’s, Red the Steakhouse, Toast, Ushabu, and more preparing $5 small plates ranging from savory to sweet
- Craft beer from Great Lakes Brewing Co., Sibling Revelry Brewing, Butcher & the Brewer, Fat Head’s Brewery, and more
- Live entertainment from Red Wanting Blue, Carlos Jones and the Plus Band, and more
- Culinary demonstrations and family-friendly activities
- Fireworks display over downtown Cleveland
- Tickets are available online: $5 for general admission, $15 for general admission plus two drink tickets, and $50 for VIP admisison (additional seating, private cash bar, great stage view, cheese and charcuterie, and a glass of champagne before the fireworks)
If you attend either event, you have a chance to win $50 to Pura Vida by Brandt. Simply snap a selfie at either Friday’s or Saturday’s event and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will randomly choose two winners, who will each receive $50 in gift cards to Pura Vida by Brandt. I must receive your email entry by 11:59pm on Sunday, September 17.
Get out there and enjoy the best in Cleveland food, fun, and fests this weekend!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Tri-C Cleveland Eats Festival. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the Small Bites, Big Dreams Gala, as well as $100 to Pura Vida by Brandt to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***