It’s shaping up to be a tasty September, as the popular Taste of Hudson returns this weekend after a yearlong hiatus, and area chefs plan an adventurous five-course meal Sept. 30 at the Akron Civic Theatre.

And we’ve got more on the inaugural Cleveland Eats festival, which will be Sept. 15-16, as well as other news morsels.

A dozen restaurants will set up at the First & Main shopping complex off state Route 303 and sell sample sizes for the two-day Taste of Hudson, from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

Last year’s event was canceled, partially due to construction in downtown Hudson. Additionally, the executive director had left the organization in February of that year.

“The construction is just about done and we’re ready to have some fun again,” said Debra Sherman, current executive director.

Participating restaurants with Hudson locations are 3 Palms, Aladdin’s Eatery, Don Patron Mexican Grill, Donatos, Flip Side, Hudson’s, Jaipur Junction, One Red Door, Peachtree Southern Kitchen & Cocktails and Rosewood Grill, as well as the Brew Kettle, which plans to open a new location in the former Varsity eatery later this year. Cilantro Thai & Sushi of Akron, the Clocktower Rotary Club and Adams Reserve cheese will also sell samples.

In addition to food, there will be music from more than 20 bands on four stages, and strolling musicians.

Kid-friendly activities include the Science Takes Flight Adventure Stations, an interactive butterfly exhibit and a craft tent, and the popular Little Tikes Land will return. For adults, the wine and beer garden will stay open until 11 p.m. Sunday.

This year, attendees can buy food at each restaurant’s tent using cash or credit cards. Previously, you had to purchase a dining card.

The event benefits Akron Children’s Hospital School Health Services and Hudson-area nonprofit organizations.

Dinner at Civic

Want some Shakespeare with that cocktail, wine or main dish? A Midsummer Night’s Dream — Shakespeare’s comedy featuring a love tangle and the elf Puck, lends its name to a Sept. 30 pop-up dinner at the Civic Theatre.

The event will run from 6 to 11 p.m. and is the creation of Cultivate, which put together two area pop-up dinners earlier this year. Cultivate is Rick Carson, chef and owner of Nosh restaurant in Hudson, and David Holland, owner of Copper Pot catering. Holland’s wife, Michelle Touve-Holland, owner of floral event design studio Red Twig in Hudson, also is involved.

The evening will begin with cocktails in the Civic’s lobby featuring the grand staircase. Diners will move to the stage for five courses — all inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream — paired with wine. Carson and Holland will talk about how the dishes relate to scenes and characters from the play.

Zack Hirt, co-owner of Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar in downtown Akron and Cleveland, and his sister Jennifer Hirt, a pastry chef at Nuevo, will be guest chefs.

David Holland said Zack Hirt is planning on a Cornish hen dish, including a grape and fig jam and a wild mushroom, pine nut and oats stuffing, as well as “potato bark.” Much of the play takes place in woods outside of Athens.

Bottle to Glass, a newish local distributor, will provide the wine. Coffee will be from Bent Tree Coffee Roasters of Kent.

Collaboration is key with Cultivate, Holland said, explaining that hospitality can be a competitive business.

“With Cultivate, rather than everybody just compete with one another, we actually start growing with one another,” Holland said. “We network, and one person helps one and another helps another.”

Cost is $138 including tax and tip. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com or by calling the Civic box office at 330-253-2488.

For more on Cultivate, go to www.chefcultivated.com.

Gourmet guys

Grapes and Gourmet Guys — featuring local men who are not professional chefs cooking up their signature dishes — is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 19. More than 20 area male leaders will compete at the event, which will be in the ballroom and on the patio of Roses Run Country Club, 2636 N. River Road, in Stow.

The fundraiser, in its 10th year, has raised tens of thousands of dollars for GriefCare Place in Stow, which provides counseling services to the grieving.

You get to sample each dish, along with wines. Patrons and an all-female panel of local celebrity judges will determine awards. New this year will be a “scavenger hunt of sorts,” organizers say.

Tickets are $60 ($450 for a table of eight) and include two glasses of wine, silent and oral auctions, a wine pull and entertainment. For tickets, call the GriefCare Place at 330-686-1750.

Cleveland Eats

Brandt Evans, chef/partner of Blue Canyon Kitchen in Twinsburg, and Dante Boccuzzi, whose eateries include DBA in Akron, are among those participating in the inaugural Cleveland Eats festival Sept. 15-16.

They will join more than two dozen of the region’s chefs, each showcasing a dish in a 4- to 5-ounce portion — not so big that attendees fill up at one booth. The festival will set up at Mall B above the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland.

Evans said the event grew out of the recognition that “we really haven’t had a festival to celebrate what we’ve done to build Northeast Ohio into such a great food area.”

It is being organized by Hospitality Management Center of Excellence at Cuyahoga Community College, which has many graduates working at Northeast Ohio restaurants.

Evans said he’ll be serving bison meatball sliders with a red onion and curry marmalade on Sept. 16 — the day of the main event. Evans also owns the Pura Vida restaurant next to Tri C’s Hospitality Management Center.

An employee of Boccuzzi’s — Phil Hockey, general manager of Dante in Tremont — will bring his Shuckin’ Shack, which offers roasted corn with a variety of toppings.

Adult admission is $5 to the Sept. 16 activities, which will run from noon to 10 p.m. Children ages 12 or younger get in free. Once you pay the admission, each 4- to 5-ounce portion is $5.

For a Cleveland Eats schedule, tickets, a list of restaurants and other information, go to www.tri-c.edu/clevelandeats. There also is an online offer for admission and two drink vouchers for $15.

The festivities will kick off with an after-work street party from 4 to 9 p.m. Sept. 15 with food trucks, music and craft breweries. A high school culinary competition will take place earlier in the day.

On Sept. 14, a benefit at Tri-C’s Hospitality Management Center on Public Square will raise scholarship money. Tickets start at $150.

Hospitality “is a growing industry,” said Boccuzzi. “We need staff to keep it going … I’m up to nine restaurants and we’re still growing.”

Food Truck Friday

The last Food Truck Friday of the season runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at Child Guidance & Family Solutions at North Forge and East Market streets at downtown Akron’s edge.

Judith Fowler of Child Guidance, which organizes Food Truck Friday, reports that this week’s trucks are Swensons, Wholly Frijoles Mexican Street Foods, Orange Trük and sweets truck Nom Nom Cupcakes/Popcorn.

This is a fundraiser, with the trucks giving a percentage of sales to the agency, which provides counseling and other services to children and their families.

Weekend reminders

• Food trucks and pop-up food businesses will set up for Kenmore Better Block Friday and Saturday.

The event will be on Kenmore Boulevard in Akron, mostly between 14th and 16th streets. It’s designed to show the potential of the underused area and is modeled after Better Blocks in Akron and other locales.

Along with the food vendors, the event will feature pop-up businesses, games and more. Kenmore Better Block runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. For information, see www.betterkenmore.org/ and the event’s Facebook page.

• Ohio-produced arts, crafts and food will be showcased at Hale Farm & Village at the Made in Ohio Arts & Crafts Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The preview night party from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday will feature Miss Julie’s Kitchen, D’s Macho Tacos, Carhops Mobile Diner, Buckeye Concessions and Schloneger’s Ice Cream.

Tickets for the preview party are $50. Call 330-666-3711, ext. 1708, or go to www.wrhs.org/events/preview-night.

Hale Farm & Village is a collection of historic structures in Bath Township that helps visitors experience what life was like in Northeast Ohio in the 19th century. The address is 2686 Oak Hill Road in Bath.

For information on the festival, go to www.madeinohiofestival.com.

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.