June 7, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
The annual feast of local eats on the Long Island City waterfront is set for June 13, with tickets closing the day beforehand.
The Taste of LIC, presented by the Chocolate Factory, takes place at Gantry Plaza State Park off of 49th Avenue. Fifty local restaurants will participate, with cuisines ranging from Brazilian (Beija Flor) to Australian (the Thirsty Koala) to French bistro (Tournesol) to Peruvian (Jora Restaurant and Bar) and more.
“It’s exciting to me to have all these different kinds of food and wine and beer,” Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of the Chocolate Factory, said. “It’s just such a great mix, and it represents all the different kinds of foods we have [in Long Island City].”
A performance by Yackez, a collaboration between artists Larissa and Jon Velez-Jackson, will accompany the event. It promises to be “super smart, very flamboyant, wild,” Lewandowski said.
“All I know is it involves a wrestling mat,” she added. “I’m excited to see it.”
There will also be raffle prizes courtesy of 100 local businesses, according to the Chocolate Factory.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Chocolate Factory’s 2016-2017 season. However, new this year, raffle proceeds will be split with the Gantry Parent Association, a group advocating for local schools that was founded last October.
“It just made sense,” Lewandowski said. “That will help give [the GPA] some seed money for some things they’re doing in the neighborhood for all kids, all families.”
Lewandowski estimated that the raffle will net roughly $4,000 to $5,000 for the GPA.
Lewandowski added that the partnership with the GPA furthered the Taste of LIC’s mission of supporting the local community. She remembered eating recently at Alobar – one of the Taste of LIC vendors – where a chalk sign reminded passersby that buying from small businesses directly supports neighbors and their families.
“We’ve tried to create an event, and I believe we’ve been successful, that shows off what’s best about these businesses,” she said. “Our bringing in the GPA was part of taking that sense of supporting each other a bit further.”
Tickets cost $65 for participation from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. or $75 at the door. For $150, attendees will gain early access at 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online here until June 12.