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Presented by Stella Artois Brought to you by the producers of Top Taco

Top Taco founder announces Food Fight food and cocktails event for May 26 at Crescent Park

 - Gambit Weekly

Top Taco, the annual culinary event featuring tastings and awards for creative and traditional tacos and cocktails, moved around in recent years because of the pandemic, and the last iteration was in Lafreniere Park in Metairie in October 2021. 

Now, Top Taco founder Shane Finkelstein is launching a food and drink competition and tasting event featuring local restaurants and spirit brands. Titled Food Fight, it's scheduled for May 26 at Crescent Park.

The event includes food and spirit tastings, cocktails and beer and entertainment.

There will be awards from a judging panel and audience favorites for traditional and creative dishes, vegetarian dishes and creative and classic cocktails.

Participating restaurants include Besame, Boucherie, Emeril's, Gris-Gris, Johnny Sanchez, Meril, Misa, Palm & Pine, Silk Road and more. 

The entertainment lineup features Honey Island Swamp Band, James Andrews and Trixie Minx.

A portion of proceeds benefit the PLEASE Foundation, which provides at-risk teens with mentorship and scholarships.

Food Fight admission is $75 general admission, which includes food tastings, spirit tastings, cocktails and beer. Early admission is $95, and VIP is $125, which includes premium spirit tastings, desserts and private bars and restrooms. 

Top Taco to Present Food Fight

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Top Taco, New Orleans’ signature taco and cocktails event, will host the inaugural Food Fight presented by Stella Artois, 6:00-10:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, on the New Orleans Riverfront.

The all-inclusive food and cocktail competition will take place at the Mandeville Shed & Ellipse Lawn at Crescent Park in the French Market District. The one-night-only event will benefit the PLEASE Foundation, a nonprofit that provides mentorship, leadership training and scholarships for at-risk teens to attend local college-preparatory high schools in the New Orleans area.

Top Taco Festival producer Shane Finkelstein credits the support of his sponsors and the $30,000 raised for the PLEASE Foundation as the impetus for Food Fight.

Food Fight will be a New Orleans food version of Top Taco,” says Finkelstein. “Our extremely supportive fans will have the opportunity to taste both classic and creative dishes and cocktails from forty of the best restaurants in the city. We see an opportunity to showcase the best of the best and find out which restaurants are ready to fight for the NOLA Board trophies. We plan to reward our fans with an amazing night of food, drinks and entertainment, while raising money for a great cause.”

Top Taco fans and celebrity judges will select winners for Top Classic Dish, Top Creative Dish, Top Classic Cocktail, Top Creative Cocktail and Top Vegetarian Dish.

Currently confirmed restaurant competitors for Food Fight include Emeril’s, Meril’s, Saint John, Otra Vez, Misa, Josephine Estelle, Boucherie, Johnny Sanchez and Silk Road. Spirits competitors include Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel’s, Ford’s Gin, Skrewball Whiskey, Jagermeister, Who Dat Spirits, Jameson’s, Fistful of Bourbon, Bayou Rum, Casamigo’s and El Buho Mezcal.

Attendees will have access to pop-up bar areas and DJ lounges, spirit tastings, live music by Honey Island Swamp Band and James Andrews, Trixie Minx Burlesque and additional visual elements.

In the Food Fight VIP Lounge, chefs and mixologists will prepare signature dishes and cocktails with additional entertainment, premium spirit tastings and a gourmet dessert station.

Gates open for early entry at 6 p.m., with First Tasting and fan voting beginning at 6. General admission entry begins at 7 p.m. Fan voting continues until 9 p.m., with winners announced on stage at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, March 8. General admission tickets are $75.00 Early entry and First Tasting tickets are $95, with VIP tickets $125. Once inside the festival, all food and drinks are included. Information on ticket purchases is available at www.foodfightnola.com.

Crescent Park is located at 2300 N. Peters St.


Congratulations to Imani, Dwight, and Fahaun for being awarded the prestigious Oscar J. Tolmas Scholarship through the PLEASE Foundation.

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“Activism has provided me with a better insight into the lives of those I’ve encountered.

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The PLEASE Foundation (PLEASE) was founded in 2007 by native New Orleanian, Yvette Endom.

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