Food Festivals

More Than 50 Restaurants Gear Up for Las Olas Wine and Food Festival

Lalani Photography
Cheers! More than 200 different beverages await you at the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival.
Las Olas Boulevard’s culinary landscape is constantly evolving. With new spots popping up seemingly by the month and local classics holding strong, there is no shortage of tasty food on the iconic thoroughfare.

Once a year, Fort Lauderdale residents get a chance to sample offerings from the area's diverse eateries at the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival. The festival returns for its 24th year on Friday, April 5, and it’s all for a good cause, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the American Lung Association.

“In the last three to four years, the festival has really grown,” says Katie Harlow, festival co-chair and director of events for Breakthru Beverage, the title sponsor of the event. “Last year, we had more than 2,500 attendees and we’ve sold out the last few years.”

In total, the 2018 event raised more than $200,000 for the American Lung Society. This year’s fest boasts offerings from more than 50 restaurants, 40 wineries, and more than 200 beverages to try along the scenic boulevard. In addition to Harlow, Travelhost’s Ina Lee is co-chairing the 2019 event.

Among the standout experiences, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will showcase its Japanese restaurant, Kuro, with an interactive chef experience; Riverside Hotel will have a tasting pavilion highlighting its various outlets; and the Restaurant People will sample offerings from all three of its restaurants: Java and Jam, YOLO, and Township. Spirits brand New Amsterdam is also partnering with local hotspot Rhythm & Vine to recreate its turfy-fun atmosphere on Las Olas Boulevard.

Other restaurant participants include 15th Street Fisheries, Aruba Beach Café, Louie Bossi, Piazza Italia, Timpano and Wild Sea Oyster Bar. On the wine and beer front, key brands include Fleur de Mer, J Vineyards, and Woodford Reserve among entities spanning the globe.

“Whoever you’re with, grab one sample and share it,” says Harlow, who is now in her tenth year of helping out with the event. “When it comes to trying out the restaurants, take a look in advance at the roster online and know what you want to try. And then, it’s all about finding them and going for it.”

Las Olas Wine and Food Festival. 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, at Las Olas Boulevard between SE Sixth and 11th Avenues, Fort Lauderdale; Tickets cost $150.