Wine and DineApr 01, 2023 ● By Lisa Sciortino
By Lisa Sciortino
In recent years, Frisco has developed a reputation as a top dining destination in North Texas.
These days, seemingly every corner of the city is inhabited by luxuriously appointed eateries serving delicious, internationally inspired cuisine alongside tempting, innovative libations and some of the most recognizable wines in the world.
Dozens of these stellar restaurants, along with 25 award-winning wineries boasting impressive selections from their menus and vineyards, will participate in the 4th annual Frisco Uncorked, scheduled from noon-6 p.m. April 29 at Frisco Square, 8874 Coleman Blvd., in Frisco.
Presented by H-E-B, which opened its first North Texas store in Frisco last year, Frisco Uncorked is expected to draw thousands of attendees this year.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be bringing Frisco Uncorked back to the community that has supported us over the years,” says Lauren Stephan, president, owner and founder of SBG Hospitality, which has produced the event since 2019.
Frisco STYLE is the official media partner of Frisco Uncorked. Other event partners include the Omni Frisco Hotel, Lombardi Family Concepts, Tumbleweed TexStyles, Western Son Vodka, Park Place Acura and BOHO Alternative Med Spa.
A variety of ticket options for the festival, ranging from $40-$125, are available including a Wine Tasting Pass featuring 20, one-ounce tastings from the wineries and a souvenir Frisco Uncorked logo wine glass; a Food Tasting Pass for bites from 15 of the restaurants at the event; and a Wine and Food Pass that pairs 20 wine tastings with 15 food tastings.
The Frisco Uncorked VIP Pass sells out annually, Stephan says.
Along with 20 wine-tasting tickets and a food pass for the festival restaurants, passholders (ages 21 and older only) also have access to the VIP tent where exclusive wines and beer, appetizers and a signature cocktail will be served. Also inside will be a “bubbly bar” for champagne fans, a coffee bar, a dessert bar and several fun activities including a photo booth and lawn games, among others.
Frisco Uncorked tickets are available at friscouncorked.com.
Stephan calls the festival “a celebration of good food, good drink and community.”
The event has grown significantly in size and scope since its first year, when it was forced to relocate unexpectedly as spring showers threatened to put a damper on the festivities.
“The first Frisco Uncorked took place in a parking garage because there was this torrential storm that came. We moved it to the Hall Park parking garage,” Stephan recalls. Despite the downpour, she says, “It was a huge success. We had thousands of people in attendance and that’s when we knew Frisco was an ideal location for a food and beverage event of this magnitude.”
These days, Stephan says, area restaurants clamor to be part of Frisco Uncorked’s culinary lineup. Their delicious bites will be available for sampling from noon-4 p.m. on the day of the event.
Among the North Texas eateries, specialty markets and catering companies to be featured are Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, City Works Eatery and Pour House, Rotolo’s Craft & Crust, Hawaiian Bros Island Grill, Wild Fork, Mendocino Farms, Truluck’s, Suburban Yacht Club, Union Bear, Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar, Taverna Rossa Craft Pizza & Beer, Earl’s Kitchen + Bar and STK Steakhouse.
Also participating are Lombardi Cucina Italiana, Crimson Coward, Fogo de Chao, Concrete Cowboy, bellagreen American Bistro, Moxies, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Savor by Samir Catering, EG Steak, Casa Del Bro Mexican Grill & Creamery, Jasper’s Gourmet Backyard Cuisine and Tender Smokehouse, which plans to showcase its prime smoked brisket and signature jalapeno cheddar sausage at Frisco Uncorked.
This is the first year that Tender Smokehouse will participate in the event, according to Katie Ulshafer, the restaurant’s director of catering. “What a great opportunity to meet the community and build new relationships,” she says.
“Restaurants are knocking on our door this year wanting to participate and we couldn’t be more grateful,” Stephan says, explaining that many view Frisco Uncorked “as a fabulous way to showcase their brands and bring their `A game’” to compete for the event’s highly anticipated annual People’s Choice Award. The contest has attendees vote for the top restaurant offering at the festival. Last year, the winner was Lombardi Cucina Italiana at The Star.
“We’re eager to see who will take home the honors this year,” Stephan says. “We have some fantastic restaurants participating in the event, so it’ll be exciting to see who wins.”
Count on Frisco Uncorked sponsor H-E-B to “bring plenty of excitement to the event,” Stephan says. “They’re very much part of the Frisco community.”
Attendees can visit the H-E-B “tasting tent” that will be staffed by the retailer’s chefs and other members of its culinary team who will prepare tasty, upscale dishes. H-E-B’s menu last year included full-sized lamb chops and gourmet cheesecake. (“It was absolutely delicious,” Stephan says.)
Meanwhile, from 1-5 p.m., festival attendees can visit the Culinary Experience tent and, at the top of each hour, watch seasoned chefs and masterful mixologists lead food and beverage demonstrations.
It wouldn’t be Frisco Uncorked without wine. More than 100 award-winning wines will be served this year.
Wineries and other beverage purveyors set to take part in the festival include Reddy Vineyards, Cooley Bay Winery, Blue Duck Winery, The Power Girl, Bogle Vineyards, Poised, The Wine Group, Haack Vineyards & Winery, Canyon River Wine, Landon Winery, Piezo Winery, Wall Street Winery and Silver Spur Vineyard & Winery. A vast variety of California wineries are also set to pour.
Perhaps you’d like to try your hand (or, more specifically, your feet) at making wine? You’re in luck: Set to return this year is the wildly popular grape-stomping competition that will happen throughout the day on the aptly named Grape Stomp Stage.
Proceeds from the contest (a fee is required to participate) will benefit the Frisco Arts Foundation, which provides grants to local artists. Teams of two people will work together —one stomping the grapes, the other capturing the resulting juice — to fill a container with liquid. The pair that completes the task the fastest wins and each takes home a bottle of wine.
“It’s done very much Lucy-and-Ethel style,” Stephan says about the contest, referring to an iconic episode of the classic sitcom I Love Lucy that saw character Lucy Ricardo comically stomping grapes in Italy. “We set the clock and whichever team is able to fill up their jar the fastest is the winner.”
Also, beer will play a supporting role at Frisco Uncorked, where an exclusive selection of craft beers (along with several “elevated” wine options) will be on tap at the Four Corners Brewing Company Beer Garden.
As in previous years, Stephan says Frisco Uncorked is sure to be “a fantastic day of community in Frisco.”
Lisa Sciortino is managing editor of Frisco STYLE Magazine.