BY MEGHAN SACKMAN
For the past seven years, Sunnyside businesses have come together at the start of spring to deliver a “Taste of Sunnyside.” This year that will happen on May 22.
The idea for the event came from De Mole owner Ramiro Mendez, who participated in Taste of Tribeca when he was a chef at a Manhattan restaurant.
He brought the idea to a few people who showed little interest, but then the Queens Chamber of Commerce decided to help make his dream a reality. The chamber organized the first Taste of Sunnyside, and the Sunnyside Shines BID has hosted the event in a tent under the 7 train in Bliss Plaza ever since.
This year, it will move to the P.C. Richards parking lot at 50-02 Queens Boulevard. Mendez said he will miss the old location in the heart of the community, but still has high expectations.
“It’s going to be fun for sure,” he said. “It’s been getting better and better every year.”
“It’s a more open space, and because it’s on private property we’re going to have the flexibility to do a little bit more with the festival than we have in the past,” added BID executive director Jaime Faye-Bean.
Tickets are $45 for general admission and $70 for VIP admission, which allows entrance one hour earlier. The past two years the event has sold out. In addition to the great food, there will also be live entertainment.
“The board has a strong appreciation for the positive impact the arts can have on economic neighborhood revitalization,” Faye-Bean said. “So you’ll find that most of our public programming will have an artistic element, and that’s something we’re always really excited about.”
She added that the event is a great way for residents to get to know the people behind some of their favorite restaurants as society relies more and more on technology.
“In an age of Seamless and Grubhub, this is a way for people to actually see these restaurants as small business owners and it drives home the message to ‘shop small,’” said Bean.
Susan Albenio, co-owner of Tito Rad’s Grill, said the event does a lot to benefit and highlight the diversity of Sunnyside.
“It exposes people to different cultures, which is a very good thing for a business,” she said. “Also, it’s not all about exposure, but making friends and getting involved and engaging. They are really building up the community and we have to be part of that.”
The Taste of Sunnyside will take place on Tuesday, May 22, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at tasteofsunnyside.com.