NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Top Taco presented by Cerveza Modelo returns for year four on Thursday, Oct. 28, a month later than planned due to Hurricane Ida. Previously, the 2021 event was scheduled to take place Thursday, Sept. 23.
The rescheduled event will now carry a theme – Back from the Dead – and will include a Day of the Dead costume contest to go along with the originally scheduled live music and lucha libre.
“Hurricane Ida was obviously a tough blow for us and the entire community” said Top Taco producer Shane Finkelstein. “But the show must go on, and the majority of our restaurants and sponsors are in support of rescheduling to the Day of the Dead weekend.”
This year’s all-inclusive taco and tequila throw-down will take place at Lafreniere Park in Metairie. The one-night only event will benefit the PLEASE Foundation, a non-profit that provides education opportunities to at-risk teens. This year’s class includes thirteen new students placed in college preparatory high schools around the city and six high school graduates moving on to college.
Top Taco 2020 was postponed due to COVID-19 just one week before the festival in March, 2020. Festival Producer Shane Finkelstein credits the continued support of Top Taco’s sponsors and participating restaurants for the ability to host the event in 2021. The hugely popular event debuted on the New Orleans festival scene in 2017. Since then, the event has raised more than $50,000.00 for local non-profit organizations.
“Top Taco is back in a new, spacious location that allows us to put on the type of festival people expect from us,” says Finkelstein. “Top Taco would have been difficult to put on if our fans had given up on us; more than 1,500 ticket holders had faith and held on to their tickets instead of requesting a refund last year,” he said. “We plan to reward them with an amazing night of tacos, tequila and entertainment.”
In the Top Taco VIP lounge, El Tesoro tequila will present “A Night in Paradiso” with food and drink by Dickie Brennan & Co., a Family of Restaurants, which includes: Acorn Café, Bourbon House, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Palace Café, Tableau and Dickie Brennan & Co. Catering. Their culinary team will create gourmet tacos to serve in the VIP area. Bartender Andrew Bates, of the Palace Café Black Duck Bar, will create the tequila cocktails for the V.I.P. lounge.
“Top Taco can’t be done without the generous support of our restaurants and sponsors. We do recognize the struggle that our industry has gone through this past year and, therefore, will give each participating restaurant a $500.00 stipend to help with the costs of preparing and serving tacos to festival attendees,” said Finkelstein. For more information on how to compete, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top Taco fans and celebrity judges choose the winners for Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Creative Tequila Cocktail and Top Traditional Margarita. Fest-goers will also enjoy creative pop-up bar areas and DJ lounges, tequila tastings, live Latin music by Otra and Muevelo, and eye-popping visual elements.
Confirmed for Top Taco 2021 are 2019 winners Johnny Sanchez (David Montes de Oca, Ultimate Top Taco Champion), Tacos & Beer (2019 winner for best creative cocktail critic’s choice made with Avión tequila), Barracuda (Top Traditional Taco), Los Jefes (2019 winner for best creative cocktail people’s choice made with Avión tequila), and Velvet Cactus (best traditional margarita people’s and critic’s choice made with Don Julio). Metairie favorites like Zócalo, Tacos del Cartel, Mawi Tortillas and El Paso Mexican Grill will also compete for the awards. Already confirmed new competitors include El Cucuy, Hotel Fontenot’s Peacock Lounge, Way of the Taco, Palm & Pine, Pedro’s Taco & Tequila Bar, Mama’s Cantina, and Seither’s Seafood sponsored by the Louisiana Pepper Exchange. Other returning competitors include Justine, Casa Borrega, Flamingo A Go-Go, Espiritu, and Felipe’s Taqueria.
Top Taco 2021 will offer only 300 tickets at each of the following levels at the same price as last year: regular ticketing options include $125.00 VIP, $95.00 Early Entry/First Tasting and $75.00 General Admission. Once inside the festival, all food and drinks are included. Visit www.toptaconola.com for more information.
Ticket holders with 2020 tickets will be issued new tickets for 2021. Lafreniere Park is located at 300 Downs Boulevard in Metairie.