Weekend Food Festival Postponed

Fourth Arts Block officesIan Duncan The festival is postponed until October.

A $29 ticket for this Saturday’s East Village Eats food festival would have got buyers a taste of 12 neighborhood restaurants as well as discount drinks and theater tickets, but there were few takers. Organizer Fourth Arts Block decided yesterday to push the event back to October, and will try to drum up more interest in the meantime.

Tamara Greenfield, Fourth Arts Block’s executive director, said that fewer than 100 tickets had been sold. The first East Village Eats, held last October, saw more than 400 foodies nibble their way around the neighborhood.

“We felt it would be more damaging to go forward with an unsuccessful event,” than to reschedule for the fall, Ms. Greenfield said.

Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 a restaurant and bar on East Seventh Street, helped to organize the festival. In an e-mail message he said that there were a number of competing events this weekend and that without sufficient advance ticket sales, the festival could not serve its purpose of raising money for Fourth Arts Block.

Tickets will still be good for a free happy hour this Saturday at Idle Hands on Avenue B and a small Mud coffee at the FAB Cafe on East Fourth Street. The full event will now be held on October 22 but restaurant owners lined up for this weekend have not yet confirmed their involvement.

SeltzersSamantha Ku Chris Ronis, co-owner of Northern Spy Food Co.

Chris Ronis, co-owner of Northern Spy Food Co. on East 12th Street, is unsure whether he will participate. He said that the event would benefit from the involvement of more restaurants, as it is competing with similar, more established festivals. In a neighborhood as thick with eateries as the East Village, he said the roster of 12 was a bit disappointing.

Mr. Ronis added that for busy restaurants serving Saturday brunch, setting up a tasting stall outside can be “hard to get your head around” and require extensive planning. Despite those concerns, Mr. Ronis said he was excited about this Saturday’s festival and disappointed that it will not go ahead.

Stephen Reese, chef at Korzo Haus — also on East Seventh Street — said, “I was excited to do it.”

Participating restaurant owners were notified of the postponement by e-mail last night. Fourth Arts Block publicly announced the decision on its Web site this morning. Tickets were sold through deals web site Thrillist. Its terms and conditions say sales are final, but Ms. Greenfield confirmed that Fourth Arts Block will be issuing refunds. Tickets will also be valid for the rescheduled October date.

The last East Village Eats was promoted on Living Social, a daily deals site. That promotion led to hundreds of tickets sold in a single day. Ms. Greenfield said that while Thrillist requires more extensive advertising to generate sales, it is better at getting customers to come back to the restaurants after the festival is over.