Michael Peirro III predicted Friday afternoon that a Dirty Bird sandwich will be one of his biggest hits this weekend when Mineo & Sapio Street Eats rolls in to the Taste of Buffalo – even though the reduced sodium chicken Italian sausage sandwich is a healthy option he'll be required to carry.
"Our Chicken in the Grass, which won third place in the Healthy Options category last year, was one of our top-selling sandwiches," said Peirro, one of three vendors who visited the steps of Buffalo City Hall to give Mayor Byron W. Brown and others an early taste of some of the healthy fare that will be offered during the festival.
The Taste will feature nearly 60 restaurants and food trucks from across the region from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday on the streets in and around Niagara Square.
Each vendor will be required to serve at least one option low in calories, fat and added sugars – an idea first recommended by the Independent Health Foundation's Healthy Options program 11 years ago.
[WNY Refresh Editor Scott Scanlon is a judge today for The Taste of Buffalo and will live Tweet @ScottBScanlon]
"It was developed to demonstrate that healthy eating is not limited to rice cakes and Greek yogurt," said Carrie Meyer, foundation executive director.
She underlined that with the unveiling of Pierro's Dirty Bird – a chicken sausage patty topped with barbecue glaze, carmelized onion, vinegar-based Asian slaw, ginger and cilantro – as well Lemony Fresh Bites by The Cheesecake Guy food truck and a kale salad by Healthy Scratch.
The latter two eating establishments will make their first Taste of Buffalo appearance this weekend.
Meyer provided the following tips for those who look enjoy their festival visit and eat healthy:
– An orange sticker will designate the healthy option at each vendor.
– You can check online at healthyoptionsbuffalo.com/tasteofbuffalo to get a nutritional breakdown of each healthy option.
– Look for fresh ingredients.
– Nothing deep fried.
– Any fresh fruits or vegetables incorporated into any option will make it healthier.
Independent Health will offer 10,000 trays at its kiosks, until they run out, for those who want to more easily enjoy eating their Taste items.
Brown lauded the Taste of Buffalo for being the only large-scale food festival in the country to require healthful options.
"You can eat healthy," he said, "and it can also still taste great."
Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon