Top Taco Festival Announces Final Judge, Restaurant, Beverage Lineup, Taco & Tequila Competition To Benefit One Heart NOLA

NEW ORLEANS – The first annual Top Taco Festival, presented by Paddlewheeler Creole Queen, on Thursday, March 23, at Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza, will be a festive evening and culinary competition benefitting One Heart NOLA, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the city’s foster children.

         The event will showcase more than 40 of New Orleans’ acclaimed restaurants; 24 spirits and beverages; live entertainment by Los Poboycitos and Afro-Cuban jazz and groove band Otra; a silent auction; and the chance to crown winners in four categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Creative Cocktail and Top Traditional Margarita.

         The event starts at 5:30 p.m. for 1st Tasting and VIP ticketholders, and 6:30 p.m. for the  general public.

         Event judges will include:


• Sal Agnello – Beverage Director of Ace Hotel

• Frank Brigtsen – Owner of Brigtsen’s Restaurant

• Emily Coleman – Director of Partnerships of Tales of the Cocktail®

• Charles Divins – WDSU Morning Anchor

• Michael Durbin – Texas Taco Council

• Linda Green – “Yakamein Lady” and winner of Food Network’s "Chopped: Pride of New Orleans"

• Abigail Gullo – Head Bartender of Compère Lapin

• Dominique Macquet – Chef

• Alessandra Madrid and Maggie Robert – Bloggers, Babes & Beignets

• Andrew Marin – Food and cocktail writer for Where Y’at

• Ian McNulty – food writer for New Orleans Advocate

• Leroy Mitchell – Whistle Monsta

• Kimberly Patton-Bragg – Owner/ operator of Three Muses Maple

• Jose Ralat – author of "American Tacos: A History and Guide to the Taco Trail North of the Border"

• Alon Shaya – Executive Chef and Partner of Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya

• Hank Staples – Proprietor of Maple Leaf bar

• Aaron Wilkinson – Lead vocalist of Honey Island Swamp Band

• Liz Williams – Founder and President of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB)

• Jason Rogers Williams – New Orleans City Councilman


         Participating restaurants will include:

• Araña

• bacobar

• The Backyard

• Barcadia

• Bayou Burger & Sports Company

• Blue Oak BBQ

• Bourbon House

• Brugger’s Barbecue & Barrel Proof

• Butcher

• Canal Street Bistro

• Carreta’s Grill

• Del Fuego

• Drago’s

• El Paso Mexican Grill

• Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria

• Jacques Imo’s

• Johnny Sanchez

• Juan’s Flying Burrito

• Kingfish

• La Casita

• Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant

• Lula’s 

• Masquerade

• Mizado

• Nacho Mama’s

• Patois

• PF Chang’s

• Rum House

• Superior Grill

• Tacos and Beer

• Tequila House

• Velvet Cactus


         Sprit and beverage participants will include:

• 03

• 1800 Tequila

• Barefoot Wine & Bubbly

• Casa Noble

• Casamigos

• Corona Beer

• Cuervo Tradicional

• Dekuyper

• Don Julio

• El Mayor

• El Silencio

• El Tesoro

• Espalon

• Evamor Water

• Exotico

• Fortaleza

• Ghost Tequila

• Gran Centenario

• Hornitos

• Hussong’s

• Lunazul

• Maestro Dobel

• Modelo Especial

• Negra Modelo

• Patron

• Patron Citronage

• Patron XO

• Peligroso

• Sauza Blue

• Tequila Ocho

• Tito’s Vodka

• Tres Generaciones


         In addition to tasty bites and libations, Top Taco will also feature a curated silent auction with one-of-a-kind packages, laser tag and a VIP Lounge aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen – with culinary creations from 10 exclusive VIP restaurants: Vincent’s, Cowbell, Chiba, Horn’s, Tracey’s, Pirogue, Feeling’s Café, Namese, Norma’s Bakery and Midway; live music by Muevelo, private Extra Anejo tequila tastings, premium open bar provided by Jim Beam Global and a Patron XO-infused dessert station featuring La Boulangerie and Laurel Street Bakery.

         General admission passes are $65 per person, 1st Tasting tickets are $85 and include early entry, and VIP discounted tickets are $125 per person which includes early entry plus the VIP Lounge experience on the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen.

         For more information


Categories: Around Town, Food, Today’s Business News