May 21, 2014 By Christian Murray
Local residents turned out en mass to participate in this year’s Taste of Sunnyside, which was held in a giant tent under the elevated No. 7 line on Queens Blvd Tuesday night.
The event was a sell out and the organizers had to turn away several last-minute ticket buyers. There were long ticket lines, since several people who exited the 46th Street train station discovered the festivities and wanted to partake.
The attendees were all there to sample the cuisine offered by nearly 30 local restaurants, and to enjoy the sounds of an all-female mariachi band and a local jazz-group. There was also beer (provided by local breweries) as well as plenty of wine and sangria.
Throughout the evening—which went from 5:30 pm through 8:30 pm– a continuous wave of people kept coming through the tent entrance, especially after 7:00 pm. Over the course of the night, more than 600 people attended.
The location proved to be a big hit and naysayers fears of traffic, fumes, and pigeons were unfounded.
“The venue is a dynamite choice,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “It’s in the middle of the street…people can walk by it and see it and hear it,” he said. “It creates a sense that there is a lot going on in the neighborhood.”
The aim of the event, put on by Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, was to showcase many of this neighborhood’s restaurants that many people may not ordinarily go to. Furthermore, it was a way for Sunnyside Shines to showcase the area as a point of destination.
That goal was clearly met, judging by those who attended.
Many had not been to establishments such as Bucharest Restaurant, located on 40th Street, and Los Verdes on Greenpoint Avenue. Several spoke of how they liked the meats/sausages offered by Bucharest and the Kernel corn offered by Los Verdes.
There were several attendees who had only just moved to the neighborhood and they appreciated the fact that they were able to get a quick overview of what Sunnyside’s restaurants had to offer.
Foodies gorged themselves on a variety of dishes, such as Murphy’s lobster mac n cheese; Venturo’s black & green lasagna; Ariyoshi’s Yakisoba noodles; Salt & Fat’s pork terrine topped with salmon roe and grain mustard; Copper Kettle’s chicken pot pie; Nita European’s mini-puff pastries; Quaint’s smoked meatballs; Bliss Street Station’s Shepherd’s pie; Bliss 46’s Shrimp Scampi, and more.
Yesterday, the Village Voice did a write up on the event and selected its five favorite restaurants of night, which included The Dog and Duck, Salt & Fat, Venturo, De Mole and Nita’s European Bakery.
Mikolaj Franaszczuk, who runs the website Sunnyside Food, said he was impressed by the quality of food. Furthermore, he said, “the restaurants are serving really big portions,” he said.
Several restaurants had to send workers back to their establishments to get additional supplies as their food began running out toward the end of the evening.
Bar 43 sent workers back to get more Atomic wings, while Claret Wine Bar, which prepared for 600 guests, had to get a resupply of pate and sangria.
Bucharest ran out of food by 8:00 pm.
Nick Murphy, co-owner of Bar 43, predicts that the event will be bigger next year since the event had a carnival feel to it being in the center of Sunnyside.
Justin Costello, manager of Claret Wine Bar, said he was so impressed by the event he wouldn’t think twice about participating next year.
“The event was better than we all expected,” said Rachel Thieme, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines, who was the primary organizer of the Taste.
“We had a site plan and a vision for the event…and it was hard to picture how it was going to go…and I am so thrilled that it was a big success.”