Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752,
Dave Bullard, 315-487-7711 x 1377,

April 03, 2014

Request for Proposals Issued to Operate State Fair Restaurants Year-Round

For the First Time, One Contractor Sought for All Four Fair Facilities, Mobile Service in Other Buildings, Catering

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced the issuance of a request for proposals (RFP) for a contractor to operate all of the New York State Fairgrounds’ restaurants and provide catering services.  The contract covers five years, with the possibility of an additional five year renewal. 

The RFP marks the first time that the department is seeking a single company to operate all of the Fair’s year-round dining facilities.  They include two rooms in the Art and Home Center the Empire Room restaurant and banquet facility, and the smaller Somerset Room meeting room and banquet facility, along with restaurants in the Center of Progress and the Horticulture buildings.  

“The department seeks to work with a company that can make maximum use of all of those facilities, to provide the greatest benefit possible to the people who attend the Fair and our more than 100 other annual events, as well as to taxpayers,” said Richard A. Ball, Acting Commissioner of Agriculture.

In addition, the contractor will provide mobile food service in certain buildings that do not have restaurants but which often hold large trade shows or horse and livestock events.  Those buildings include the Exhibit Center and Toyota Coliseum.  The winning bidder will also provide catering services for special events and meetings on the Fairgrounds as needed.  The contractor may also book and cater special events when facilities are not otherwise in use, such as wedding receptions.

In line with department policy and the Fair’s core mission of promoting agriculture, the restaurants’ operator is asked to promote food and beverages produced in New York.
Bidders will submit sample menus, as well as promotion plans that include foods and beverages made in New York, as part of the evaluation process.

All bidders must certify that they have operated at least two full-service, year-round restaurants within the last three years with gross annual revenue above $150,000.  They must obtain their own liquor licenses. They must also submit detailed business plans, operations plans, and resumes of principal members.  Bids are due by April 25.  The tentative date for awarding the winning bid is May 9.  The contract begins on July 1.

The full RFP can be found at

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 21 September 1, 2014.  Its mission is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.  The theme of the 2014 Fair is “Summer’s Best in Show.”

2014 Press Releases