UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Secret Garden, on Culver Avenue in Utica, is the champion of the 2009 RiggieFest. Thousands turned out to vote Saturday for the best version of Utica's classic dish at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Second place went to Chesterfield's Restaurant in Utica and third place went to last year's champion, Route 69 Steakhouse in Whitesboro.
The event is a fun way to raise money for a local organization, the YWCA Mohawk Valley. The Executive Director of the YWCA, Linda Czerkies says, "This is such a fun way to promote our local restaurants and favorite foods while raising money for the YWCA. We are so grateful for the outpouring of community."
David Gibson, the founder of the event, says that RiggieFest is a "celebration of a unique quality of the culture of Utica and its food." Gibson also said that the RiggieFest event continues to grow. More and more participants attend each year and the event is on the verge of signing on some major national sponsorships. Gibson wants the Riggie dish to grow also. He said, "I want it to become so popular that you can order a plate of Utica's Riggies anywhere in the county."
The 2009 Participants were:
- Route 69 Steakhouse and Saloon, Whitesboro
- Secret Garden Restaurant, Utica
- Crystal Chandelier, Herkimer
- Chesterfield Restaurant, Utica
- Pasta-To-Go, New Hartford
- Darcy's Cafe and Catering, Natural Bridge
- Seymour's Diner & Grill, Westmoreland
- Utica's 257 Steakhouse, Utica