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


May 20, 2015 By Christian Murray

Local residents turned out en masse to participate in this year’s Taste of Sunnyside that was held under a giant tent under the elevated No. 7 line on Queens Blvd Tuesday night.

The event was sold out over the weekend and several people who wanted to buy tickets last night were told they were unable to partake.

The attendees were all there to sample the food and beverages offered by nearly 30 local restaurants. The samples offered were global in scope with Italian, Irish, French, Colombian, Peruvian, Thai, Tibetan, American and Paraguayan food on offer.

Many enjoyed the sounds of a local jazz-group and the sights of Flamenco dancers.

There was also beer provided by two local breweries (Queens Brewery and SingleCut Beersmiths) and plenty of wine.

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 6:30 pm. Over the course of the night, more than 600 people attended.

The location proved to be a hit once again, the second year it has been held under the elevated No. 7 line.

“I think the venue is great,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “It is done in the heart of the community under the 7 train where both sides of the neighborhood come together.”

“Thousands of people are drawn to this [event] as they drive by or get off the train,” he said. “Even if they don’t know what is taking place or they can no longer get tickets they leave thinking that this is a community where things happen.”

The aim of the event, which was put on by Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District for the fifth time, is to introduce attendees to restaurants that they may not ordinarily go to. The idea is if they enjoy their sample, they will dine at the restaurant at a later date.

Furthermore, the event is also a way for Sunnyside Shines to showcase the area as a food destination.

Rachel Thieme, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines and last night’s organizer, said the event continues to get better.

She said that it was good to see several newly-established restaurants participate such as Dumplings & Things, Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizzeria, Punda Tibetan Restaurant, Soleluna and Tibetan Dumpling Café.

While Sunnyside Shines’ event got rave reviews last year, Thieme said that she changed the layout to ensure that people had more space to eat and that people were able to get into the event without delay.

She said that she had received a lot of positive feedback from restaurant owners throughout the night.

“It a big commitment for them so we like hearing that it is worthwhile.”





bigtent6dog and duck


Source Michael Rappe

Source Michael Rapp

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What an enjoyable event. See you next year but hopefully maybe another in the Fall?


I guess that is the perfect way to keep your neighbors out and attract people from elsewhere. Way to go, business owners. Show your disdain for the people that live here by charging more than working people can afford for what used to be free. Perfect elitist strategy.

Anonymous visitor

I live in Sunnyside. I’m a working person. I was able to afford a ticket.


And many more weren’t. Simple, summertime street fairs are the traditional way businesses promote themselves and their food for customers. But those don’t attract the attention of people outside of the neighborhood. The BID is decidedly focused on making Sunnyside and its restaurants an area attraction because it is good for their businesses to appeal to a wider audience. Good businesses don’t always make good neighbors, as I know from the restaurant that moved in across the street from me. When I asked them to restrain their customers’s children from roaming all over the block causing disturbances, he said, “No. They don’t bother me.” Good business sense, since he now has an additional restaurant elsewhere, but bad neighbor policy.

Anonymous visitor

You compare this to summertime street fairs but it’s not one and it’s not meant to replace them. It’s in addition to the great stuff that’s free and open to all, not in place of.

Restaurants are participating because the event draws people from outside the neighborhood. That’s the whole point. It’s not because they’re too whatever for those of us who already live here but because they want to have people from all over eat in their restaurants.

Things will not stay the way they were – no matter how much you complain. Get over the tiring us vs. them mentality. We live here and should want the local businesses to thrive, something they can do much easier if people from outside Sunnyside make the trip here for the occasional meal.

Old Pal

You truly don’t have a clue. Not a clue. God help you. I now formally wish that this happen to you someday and you have to eat the bitter, bitter words you have said today. Your exasperation with those you consider out of touch belies your lack of depth. Love of money. . .

Sunnyside up

Because the resturants are hopefully busy on a Saturday night, that’s why they do this on a quiet Tuesday


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