2017 Taste of Huntsville Winners Announced

Huntsville / Madison County Hospitality Association Announces the Winners of the 42nd Annual Taste of Huntsville Event


Huntsville, Ala – The Huntsville/Madison County Hospitality Association (HMCHA) hosted the 42nd annual Taste of Huntsville at the Von Braun Center on Thursday, October 19, 2017.  This year’s theme was “Tailgate with the Taste of Huntsville” and guests enjoyed food, drinks, a Silent Auction and live entertainment from the kids at Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center. 

“We as an association worked together with our members and local community supporters to make the 42nd Annual Taste of Huntsville one to remember,” said HMCHA President Libby Webb. “Thank you to our association members, the participants, sponsors, charities and guests for helping make this year’s Taste a success!” 

Over 30 food and beverage companies from Madison County participated in Taste this year.  As guests entered into South Hall, they were greeted by an expo-style setup where participant’s decorated booths sat along the exterior walls and tables for eating filled the center of the room.  Guests were able to sample food and beverages from the participants and get an idea of what the business has to offer.  Participants were able to decorate their booth to fit the “Tailgate” theme and submit for judging. 

The winners for Best Décor were:

1st Place – Grille 29     
2nd Place – Von Braun Center
3rd Place – Connors Steak and Seafood

Prior to the doors opening for guests, restaurants were able to submit their food for judging.  The seven categories for judging were Best Upscale Entrée, Best Fast Casual Entrée, Best Fast Food Entrée, Best Appetizer, Best Side Dish, Best Dessert, and Best Overall.  The winners in each category were:

Best Upscale Entrée:

1st Place – Grille 29
2nd Place – Connors Steak and Seafood
3rd Place – UNA Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management

Best Fast Casual Entrée:

1st Place – Hopper’s Bar & Grill at Holiday Inn Research Park
2nd Place – The Westin Huntsville
3rd Place – Urban Cookhouse

Best Fast Food Entrée:

1st Place – New Market BBQ
2nd Place – Downtown Rescue Mission
3rd Place – Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que

Best Appetizer:

1st Place – Von Braun Center
2nd Place – Grille 29
3rd Place – Tom Bevill Conference Center & Hotel

Best Side Dish:

1st Place – Connors Steak and Seafood
2nd Place – New Market BBQ
3rd Place – Grille 29

Best Dessert:

1st Place – Connors Steak and Seafood
2nd Place – Ruth’s Chris Steak House 
3rd Place – Grille 29

Best Overall:

1st Place – Grille 29
2nd Place – Connors Steak and Seafood
3rd Place (TIE) – Von Braun Center and New Market BBQ

A portion of the proceeds from HMCHA’s Taste of Huntsville benefitted two charities, Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center and Serving Hope, Inc..  Both charities were tasked with organizing the items for the Silent Auction.  Some of the auction items included: Lunch with the Mayor at Cotton Row; Golfing at The Ledges; Flight Voucher from Huntsville International Airport; Private Dinner and Movie for 20 at CynShea's Café and Catering, a division of Serving Hope, Inc.; and Original Artwork from Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center's Students.

“Being a part of this year’s Taste was an amazing experience not only for Serving Hope, Inc. but also for me personally,” said Julie Johnson, Director of Community Relations and Outreach.  “I really appreciate the opportunity and subsequent exposure our organization received as a beneficiary. It’s awesome to see our community come together to share great food and give back!” 

Merrimack Hall’s Development Director, Megan Mackey, said "Being chosen as one of the beneficiaries for this year’s Taste was a dream come true. This event was such a special way to bring exposure to the children and adults with special needs that we see every day at Merrimack Hall.”  Mackey continued, “The Taste is all about bringing the community together to enjoy the best food Huntsville has to offer and we were honored to be included.”

Webb finished by saying, “HMCHA is excited to wrap up another successful Taste of Huntsville and we are already looking forward to our 2018 Taste of Huntsville! Keep up with all of the latest news and announcements by joining our Get Notified List at  Thanks for everyone's support!”

The Taste of Huntsville relies heavily on the support of local sponsors.  This year’s Title Sponsor was Rocket City Broadcasting.  Event Sponsors were America's Party Pros, 256 Magazine, CitySpree, EVENT Magazine, Huntsville Parks & Recreation, Landers McLarty Chevrolet, Our Valley Events, Performance Food Service - Lester, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Rockaxe City Throwing Club, Sysco, WAAY-31, WAFF-48, WHNT-19, and WZDX-54.

About the Huntsville-Madison County Hospitality Association

The Huntsville/Madison County Hospitality Association is a membership organization and is a non-profit, non-stock Alabama Corporation.  The purpose of the Huntsville/Madison County Hospitality Association is to unite representatives of the hospitality and tourism industry, including Lodging, Restaurant, Tourism & Travel and Allied Industries for the promotion and protection of their common interests.

About Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center

The mission is to provide visual and performing arts education, and cultural activities, to children and adults with special needs and to provide quality professional entertainment to the community. Merrimack Hall also gives back to the community by providing facility use to other nonprofit organizations, and reduced or free tickets to the underserved. Since opening our doors in 2007, Merrimack Hall has given back more than $1.5 million to the community.  “Each time you purchase a ticket, you are helping to fund our outreach programs, and we thank you for your patronage!”

About Serving Hope, Inc.

Serving Hope seeks to teach the underserved communities of Huntsville and greater Madison County life skills and job skills through hands on training, and help them to achieve their ServSafe certification upon completion of this program. The work students put in during their time with Serving Hope is to encourage them to invest in themselves. The ultimate goal is to be an institution that helps build family prosperity and in turn community development through the hope and love of Jesus Christ. “We wish to be a ‘Hand Up’ not a ‘Hand Out’ to those who need it most.”

If you are intersted in supporting our 2018 Taste of Huntsville Event as either a Sponsor or Partcipant, please just email us at and let us know how you'd like to assist.

Thanks for your support!

Libby Webb, Pres HMCHA
Owner/Partner, New Market BBQ

Mobile: 256-756-7530 
Address: PO BOX 322, Huntsville, AL 35804 

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