While old standards drew crowds at this year’s Taste of Westerville, it was a rookie that dazzled attendees with its sizable variety of sweet treats.
Gigi’s Cupcakes, which just opened in December on Polaris Parkway, took home the award for Best Presentation for its meticulously arranged display of 12 signature cupcake varieties.
“The one that kept (attendees) coming back was Blueberry Lavender,” says Gigi’s manager Stacy Schwarz.
Polaris Grill’s Louisiana Gulf shrimp with grit cakes took home the People’s Choice award and the Westerville’s Tastiest award. The restaurant, also on Polaris Parkway, was featured in last year’s Taste of Westerville story in Westerville Magazine, having claimed the People’s Choice award – a tie with Bel Lago – in 2012.
The Taste of Westerville, organized by the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, took place April 19 at the Lakes Golf and Country Club.
The Polaris location is the first in central Ohio for Gigi’s, which is based in Nashville. It’s not the only place in central Ohio to offer the company’s cupcakes, though; its food truck makes appearances at such events as Red, White & Boom! and the Equine Affaire.
Ron Freeman – who owns the local Gigi’s franchise with his wife, Dawn – mentions all-natural ingredients and products being baked fresh every morning as some of the store’s hallmarks, but the first thing many people notice is the frosting; it’s piled very high on each cupcake.
“It’s a signature,” Freeman says. “You have to stand out among the other places.”
Gigi’s has a different menu for each day of the week, and the daily menus rotate by season. The exception is the Sunday menu, a custom job that is different every week and carries a theme.
Among customers’ favorites, Freeman says, are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Wedding Cake, Peanut Butter Cup and Kentucky Bourbon. In all, there are about 80 flavors available, running from Chocolate Salted Caramel and Sopapilla to Mojito and Hunka Chunka Banana Love.
The Westerville area is just a start for Gigi’s in Columbus; an Easton location was slated to open last month, and Hilliard and Pickerington locations are also on the horizon, Freeman says.
Gigi’s was not the only newcomer at this year’s Taste of Westerville. Chef Honda, a Japanese restaurant on Polaris Parkway, was also on hand, having just opened in February. Organic food supermarket Earth Fare, located on Gemini Place, was another first-timer.
Other local businesses in attendance were Bel Lago, Cheryl & Co., Chocolaterie Stam, City Barbeque, Cold Stone Creamery, Friendship Village, Giammarco’s Pizza & Pasta, Jason’s Deli, MCL Restaurant & Bakery, Mitchell’s Steakhouse, Nicole’s Catering, the Old Bag of Nails, Sandman Gourmet Deli & Catering, Skyline Chili and the Lakes Golf & Country Club.
Garth Bishop is editor of Westerville Magazine. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.