Three Rivers Arts Festival food feeds whims, trends, classics
Like the eternal, inexorable movement of the tides, the moon and the arrival of summer, there's a sort of calming stability to the return of the Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Of course, that stability can be taken literally, if you choose to eat the equally inevitable deep-fried Oreos, finding the energy to move again may be a problem.
The food booths facing Point State Park again offer a veritable cornucopia of deep-fried delights, and all the Teriyaki Chicken-on-a-Stick ($8) and Chocolate-covered Marshmallows ($4) you can consume.
It may not seem like it, but the festival concessions business is constantly on the move, and fully capable of adapting to new trends and whims of the public — even if a predictable menu of durable “classics” is what generally pays the bills.
The Edible Salad Bowl ($8 to $10, with chicken, shrimp or steak) isn't brand-new, but it's new enough that not everybody is doing it yet.
“It's made out of a tortilla shell, fried until crispy,” said Teresa Folino, who was serving them up. “It's shaped like a bowl, sort of.”
You can get that icon of healthy snacking, the Fresh Fruit Smoothie ($7) from the same booth as Fried Oreos ($6). Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Pretzels ($2) seem like they have maybe one ingredient too many, but the Sriracha Chicken Bites ($10) seem to have just the right combination of portability and brand-name hot sauce to catch on.
“It doesn't scream ‘Sriracha' — it's just a hot chicken nugget,” explained Amy DePalma of Mt. Pleasant, eating lunch at a table on the Point State Park lawn. “More spice needed.”
Mike Studd, 36, of Canonsburg was into the Loukomathes — or Greek Honey Dough Balls ($5).
“It's delicious,” he said. “It's like a warm piece of dough that melts in your mouth, with cinnamon sprinkled on top.”
Only a few days into the arts festival, Studd had already figured out the bargains. While devouring a Kielbasa with Sauerkraut ($7), he noted that the day before, he got Chicken-on-a-Stick, which was $8, “but you can combine it with Lo Mein for $10 — that's a pretty good deal.”
For some offbeat ethnic fare, there's Helmut's Strudel, serving “Hot Fresh Austrian.”
“There's cherry, apricot, cheese and apple,” said Hazel Guess, who was attempting to refill the pastry display case. “Yeah, it's new this year. It's selling well. $5 for half, $10 for a whole (strudel).”
The predominant flavor of the Three Rivers Arts Festival is rain, of course. As of yesterday afternoon, the slate-gray skies seemed to be keeping it to themselves.
Audra Lee, manager of Chan's Concessions, spends all summer traveling to festivals in Chicago, Florida, North Carolina and elsewhere. Lollapalooza in Chicago is a particular favorite. The company was started in Pittsburgh and has been serving the Three Rivers Arts Festival since 1989. Like everyone else in this business, she's constantly watching the skies.
“People want to connect after a long winter all cooped up,” Lee explained. “We lose more than half (of our business) when it rains.”
Friday the 13th will be a lucky day for food-truck fans. Some of Pittsburgh's most popular trucks will be there, including Oh My Grill (grilled cheese), Franktuary (hot dogs), BRGR (gourmet burgers), Mac & Gold (mac & cheese), Miss Meatball (meatballs), Saucy Mama's (Italian), Nakama (sushi) and Zum Zum Polish Pierogies.
Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7901.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers to bring LB Harrison out of retirement
- Liriano, McCutchen help Pirates to 1-0 win over Braves
- Steelers defense must replace three injured starters
- Red Wings beat Penguins, 2-1, in preseason opener
- Steelers Lookahead: Struggling 0-3 Bucs come to town
- Man shot in Carrick critical, police say
- Penguins notebook: Crosby gets early work
- Harris: No joy for Brady’s bunch at Michigan
- Obama’s federal judge pick for Georgia can’t win, Leahy says
- Game commission, public debate user feee
- School counselors’ duties expanding with growth of social media