When Casey Patten, a Philadelphia native and co-founder of Taylor Gourmet, first moved to Washington 10 years ago, he said he shared what was a “pretty common” perspective on Washington’s food scene: there wasn’t one. “It was Ben’s Chili Bowl or Maryland crab cakes, really,” he said. “That was our food identity.”
“We’ve got so much more than that now,” he added.
On Sunday, Taylor Gourmet will be one of about 25 restaurants participating in the third annual Sound Bites, a music and food street festival hosted and run by the 9:30 Club and D.C. Central Kitchen, that highlights the D.C. area’s changing appetite.
“We had been trying to figure out how to reach the 20- to 40-year-olds for a while,” said Brian MacNair, chief development officer for D.C. Central Kitchen, an organization that works to fight poverty and hunger through partnerships with local restaurants and job training. MacNair said the Central Kitchen — which hosts Capital Food Fight, an annual fundraiser that invariably sells out despite $200 tickets — wanted to speak to more casual chefs, hip foodies and local twentysomethings. “This event, with a $40 all-inclusive ticket, has been a huge hit,” he said. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit the organization.
The food menu includes fare from local restaurants and food trucks, from Shake Shack to D.C. area dining mainstays like Bobby Van’s and BlackSalt, small-plate purveyors Cork and Room 11 and chef Jose Andres’s Spanish-themed mobile operation, Pepe.
“We’re looking at chefs that are trying new things like cheese making, pickling, using artisan products, trends that D.C. has found itself right in the middle of,” MacNair said. “This festival is an opportunity for them to do their thing front and center, but also for them to show their support for their community by donating their time, staff and food to this event.”
Music will be curated by Eric Hilton, one half of the local electronic duo Thievery Corporation, and will include Bone Fur and Feathers, the Archives, Nappy Riddem and a DJ set by Hilton himself. The music starts at 5 p.m.
Sunday’s event will also host a cocktail competition, dubbed “Mixology Madness,”with bartenders from Oyamel, the Passenger, Fujimar and the Gibson given five minutes to mix drinks with a pantry of items and a secret ingredient that won’t be revealed until the competition begins. Juding the results: area mixologists Gina Chersevani and Todd Thrasher; Brightest Young Things founder Svetlana Legetic; and Good Stuff Eatery’s Spike Mendelsohn.
Sound Bites begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday at the 9:30 Club. For more information, visit www.soundbitesdc.com.
Megan Buerger is a reporter for the Washington Post’s Local Living section. Follow her on Twitter @meganbuerger.