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Taste of Sunnyside a Big Success, as Hundreds Flock to Big Tent

Photo: Michael Rapp

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.”

taste of sunnyside

Photo: QueensPost

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24 Comments

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Michael Pavlicka

You people are deluding yourselves. This is one of the crummiest nabes in the city’s 2nd crummiest borough. What kind of ‘Taste of Wherever’ allows Associated a stand? I’ll tell you what kind: the nabe that counts dumps like Bliss and Mole among its finer establishments.

Reply
JOR

Ms. Morehead, I hope you are wrong that no parking spots will be lost. At the planning forum conducted by DOT, almost everyone was in agreement that one or two parking spaces adjacent to the planned plazas at both locations be converted to provide for increased bicycle parking. DOT seem to be amenable to this suggestion. It would be a shame if Community Board 2 put the kibosh on this improvement.

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Meet the Mutts

The acappella group that performed was pretty tight, too. No mention of them?

It was a great event, though! 😀

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Julia Assange

Perpetually complaining? A Friday or Saturday night would have been better. Also feel sorry for anybody delayed on the number 7 train which grows worse every day.

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Dorothy Morehead

The plazas will only be the areas under the el at Rawson (33rd St.), Lowery (40th St.) and Bliss (46th) St. Stations where the streets have already been closed to cars. No parking spaces will be lost.

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JB

That’s too bad. I didn’t even hear anything about it or see any marketing for it.

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taste-less

The Voice article implies that the parking spots under the train will be converted to plazas. “Last night’s Taste of Sunnyside event served as both a survey of the neighborhood’s dining options and a preview of the public plazas planned for the area.”

The article also referred to De Mole as “Perennially underrated” which makes no sense.

Reply
smoky mcbongwater

Why wasn’t this done in one of the many parks we have, like the beautiful newly renovated 43rd street Park? And why not during a Saturday or Sunday, during the day and into the early evening?

I’m excited to see more things like this in the neighborhood, but a weeknight event, under the subway (in a tent, no less) lasting only three hours is kind of a half-ass job in my opinion.

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chicken pot pie

I think participating restaurants (or grocery stores) should be able to offer whatever they want. Ever been to a chili fest?

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Flores 65

The event was great! I was expecting people of all ages to attend. But that wasn’t the case. I wished this event had targeted all age groups instead of youngsters only. That would have made the event more pleasing for Sunnysiders, both new and old. Even though I love Taste of Sunnyside, it was quite odd that they didn’t include longtime restaurants. I hope next year will be like that.

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Dorothy Morehead

It was a great event. Food, beverages, music all top notch. Kudos to Sunnyside Shines for putting it together. Looking forward to next year and will definitely buy my ticket in advance.

Reply
CircleK

@ Christian Murray / Sunnysidepost

In response to reading about people exiting the trains curious to know of the tent’s many enticements and if tickets were still being sold…

How do people learn about the event besides the flyers at local restaurants? I think too few sunnysiders know about your online post. I moved here 2 yrs ago and found the post very useful in getting to know the community and it’s many annual events like the Taste. I often mention the post to locals and many say they have never heard of it.

I think if you advertised a bit – maybe around the 7 train stops – you’d see a big increase in readership. Or maybe some refrigerator magnets or mousepads could help. Phone app? Anything to draw more folks to the Post will only enrich our community and involvement in great events like the Taste.

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TK

It looked pretty exciting, but as a local hipster (who went to PS.150 so dont freakout) I couldn’t find any friends who wanted to pay the $35. I guess I’m gonna have to wait to be a 30+ year old hipster before we drop that cash!

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Anonymous

So you’re telling me that all the whinging about location, pigeons, safety, food poisoning, parking spots, etc. was all baseless whining from people who never intended to go? Yeah, I thought so.

Sorry to all the haters out there, but this event was a big success. The best of the neighborhood’s food and drink, great music from some local acts, and a sweet photo booth – something for everyone.

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CJ from Connecticut

We were VERY impressed and glad we made the trip. We are still talking about all the wonderful food. My favorite was the “Baby Jesus Cake,” which somehow turned spice cake into something very memorable. We have already put the event on our calendars for next year.

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Celtic Bark

“Also if I remember correctly two places were serving chicken pot pie. There should be more communication about who is doing what.”

No such thing as too much chicken pot pie.

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Krissi

Such a great time. Great music too!

Again, we were still a little cramped though. And hot. I know there are weather concerns, but I’d love for it to be more open air. Also, I’d pay for a full pitcher of beer or wine instead of those tiny cups that I have to keep on going back for.

Wasn’t Associated new too? Not that its a restaurant but they had the only non alcoholic drinks!

Bucharest was my fave, but everyone’s dishes were very good. Love Claret’s pate. And Don Pollo’s chicken. I didn’t even try Venturo, the line was too long. Also LOTS of quinoa this year, lol. Also if I remember correctly two places were serving chicken pot pie. There should be more communication about who is doing what.

The crowd seemed a lot younger or er.. “hipster” than what I’m used to seeing in Sunnyside. Do you think many were from Astoria? Or maybe I just live on the “wrong side of the tracks” and don’t see them lol

But overall a great success.

Reply
Smidge

The Sunnyside social club wants to thank every one as well it rocked and that IPA was killer. See ya around the neighborhood .

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