Oct. 8, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
More than 500 people took part in the revamped Taste of Sunnyside last Sunday.
The sold-out event saw residents go door-to-door to sample food and beverages offered by dozens of participating local restaurants/bars.
This year’s event was changed to a restaurant/bar crawl as opposed to being held in one location under a big tent – and organizers said it proved to be a big hit.
“Overall it was a great success and participating restaurants/bars were really happy,” said Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), which organizes the event.
“It was definitely a better format than a tented festival as people were able to familiarise themselves with the storefronts and what they have to offer.”
Sunnyside Shines carried out a survey following the event and 80 percent of respondents said they preferred the new format while 90 percent said they would return to the establishments they visited on the day, according to Bean.
No decision has been made as to the format of next year’s Taste, although Bean said it would be surprising if the crawl format isn’t continued.
The Taste of Sunnyside is the BID’s most popular event and aims to promote the district as a restaurant destination.
More than 30 local businesses took part in this year’s event, which provided them with a timely boost in the wake of the pandemic and the recent disruption caused to some storefronts by Hurricane Ida.
Ticket holders began checking in for the Taste at around 2 p.m. at Lowery Plaza – located at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard under the elevated 7 subway train. They were provided with recommended routes to follow and there were also two trollies on hand to bus attendees to the establishments if desired.
Foodies were then able to visit the participating local restaurants/bars and taste some of their best-selling items. Many businesses had stands set up outside their storefronts where workers gave out food and beverages to ticket-holders.
Bean said that some of the most popular establishments included the Italian restaurant SoleLuna, whose workers were making pasta in a cheese wheel outside, and Maggie Mae’s bar which sold its own drinks along with food from an upcoming restaurant called Caribbean Cuisine.
She said that the owners of sushi restaurant Ariyoshi were delighted to participate in the Taste for the first time. The restaurant could not take part in previous years as they were unable to keep their fish frozen under the tent.
Regular favorites like Sotto le Stelle, I love Paraguay, Riko Peruvian, Tito Rad’s, Dazies and 43 Bar & Grill were also on the route.