Sunfest 2013: What to Eat, From Gator Bites to Vegan Fare
Today begins SunFest 2013, West Palm Beach's five-day waterfront music and arts festival that manages to wrangle in some exceptional national and local musical talent -- and lots of food -- to the city's downtown area. The event has been known to attract upwards of 165,000 visitors each year, and with all that foot traffic it means plenty of food and drink to go around.
While Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach is always an option for food, the concession stands inside the event itself always offer up a pretty diverse selection of local and catered eats. So, when you're not rocking out to bands like Train, Smashing Pumpkins, Yellowcard and The Offspring, go stuff your face. In addition to several specialty catered concession stands, a few local spots have taken booths to offer the best of their menu to SunFest-goers. Lucky for us, it's not all the same boring stuff.
To help you navigate, we've shortened the list of vendors and broken it down into categories so you know what you're looking for after you've had a few SunFest Cruisers. This year's must-try picks: alligator bites, jerk chick, conch salad and even raw-vegan eats.
If pizza is your thing one of the area's best, Grimaldi's in Palm Beach Gardens, will be the spot to go. They will be serving their specialty: coal-fired, brick-oven baked pizzas with your choice of a side caesar salad, and grab a cannoli for dessert ($3.50-$6).
The Boardwalk Grill
The Boardwalk Grill will have Philly cheese steaks for $8.
The Sausage Factory
As the name suggest, the sausage factory has all your sausage needs, including Italian sausage with peppers and onions, or a traditional Nathan's hotdog ($7).
Athena's Place & Greek Island Cafe
Get your basic Greek fare with Athena's Place and the Greek Island Cafe, both serving gyros and/or shish kebob, a Greek salad and chicken devine (whatever that is?) for less than $10.
Look for the chain's beloved chicken sandwich, served with a choice of fruit cup, baked Lay's potato chips or a chocolate chunk cookie ($2-$10).
Taste & Tell
If you're feeling a little adventurous try the game meat concession, Taste & Tell, where you can pick up alligator bites -- fried chucks of alligator meat served with ribbon fries ($8-$12).
The Tropical Cafe
The Tropical Cafe will have pineapple chicken and coconut shrimp ($9).
4. Southern Style and Barbecue
The Jerk Grill will be offering standard jerk, chicken and fish. Get it with a platter for $12, or in a cup to-go style for $6.
The Cajun Express will be offering a crab sampler and chicken wings, served with fries or vegetables for a side ($4-$8).
Big Lock Mobile Kitchen and Barbecue
Big Lock, the Lake Park-based food truck, will be serving soul food with ribs, pulled pork, barbecue chicken, gumbo and more ($3-$12).
Get South American-style skirt steak served with black beans and rice ($5-$10).
The Conch Shack
Get ready for a taste of the islands with some conch fritters, fresh conch ceviche-style salad and grilled conch at the Conch Shack ($10).
Ray's Gulf Grille
If seafood is more your thing, Ray's Gulf Grille will have fried dolphin (mahi mahi) and grouper fingers, as well as bourbon chicken fingers ($10-$12).
6. Vegan and Vegetarian
Vegans will be happy to see the local, West Palm Beach-based raw vegan restaurant Darbster will be offering its famous heart of palms cake sandwich with fries and walnut tostadas ($5-$12).
This dessert stand will be giving your sweet tooth fix with bananas, strawberries and cheesecake on a stick, and drizzled in your choice of white or milk chocolate ($6).
SunFest takes place in downtown West Palm Beach along Florida's Intracoastal Waterway, extending along Flagler Drive from Banyan Boulevard to Lakeview Avenue. With more than 2,000 volunteers, a full time, year-round staff of 8, and approximately 100 corporate sponsors, it is funded in-part by the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council through the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. SunFest is also sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council. For more information, or to see the lineup, visit sunfest.com.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter @SoFloNicole.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.