By Conrad Dudderar
Mouth-watering has commenced as Yukon’s food extravaganza draws near.
Nearly two dozen restaurants will tempt tastebuds during the 22nd annual “Taste of Yukon” served from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23 inside the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore.
Presented by Yukon Parks & Recreation, this much-ballyhooed event provides guests with a real “taste” of what Yukon restaurants have to offer.
“We have restaurants that have been here since the very first one and they keep coming back and keep coming back,” said Nick Rice, YPR special operations supervisor – special events.
Taste of Yukon organizers expect between 20 and 23 restaurants will offer samples of their dishes.
Yukon may be known to many as the land of the chicken restaurants, but this upcoming special event will demonstrate this city has plenty more dining options.
“We have so many great restaurants of all different types – great pizza, great Mexican food, great Asian food – so many other than great chicken places,” Rice said.
The City of Yukon’s special events coordinator provided a sneak peek of some restaurants that have confirmed booth space for March 23.
“We know we’ll have Bad Brad’s BBQ, CiCi’s Pizza, Earl’s Rib Palace, Green Chile Kitchen, and Hawaiian Brothers, among others,” Rice said. “Hawaiian Brothers was brand new last year. They hadn’t even opened yet, came out and won ‘Best Taste’. That was cool for a new restaurant.
“Pauline’s Southern Kitchen is a new restaurant that’s already committed this year. We hope to have some other new Yukon restaurants as well.”
The Taste of Yukon provides great exposure for participating eateries, Rice noted.
“It gives them an opportunity to talk about their restaurant to patrons, but also to recruit new employees,” he said. “It’s almost like a job fair, where they can show they’re a great place to work.
“This is also a way to bring people to Yukon from surrounding areas like Piedmont, Mustang and Piedmont to show them our great restaurants.”
Taste of Yukon attendees will receive tokens when they arrive to vote in “Best Taste” and “Best Decorated Booth” competitions. Winners earn special aprons as prizes.
“It’s fun to see the restaurants compete, especially if they’re in the same genre of food,” Rice said.
While diners will be able to sample a wide variety of foods, “to-go” boxes won’t be available.
After huge crowds at the 2022 Taste of Yukon and the recent Yukon Chocolate Festival, there is a major change this time around.
That’s because space is limited inside the DRC as attendance has grown to exceed 400.
“We put on great events and our community responds to that; they’re all well-attended,” Rice said. “But sometimes quantity isn’t always the best. We want to still have a quality event and get a lot of people out there, so we’re putting a ‘max’ on our ticket sales.
“That way, there’s still a ‘good flow’ and it ensures that everybody who buys a ticket has a good chance to sample all the food.”
Ticket prices for people 10 years and above are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the event. Tickets for children 4-9 years are $7 in advance and $10 the day of the event.
Children three years and under are admitted free. Strollers are discouraged.
Advance tickets are available at all Yukon Parks & Recreation facilities or online at www.yukonok.gov
Presenting sponsor for the 2023 Taste of Yukon is Weokie Federal Credit Union. For more information, call (405) 350-8937.