Nearly two dozen of Bayside’s best places to eat and drink set up shop under one roof recently, at what is becoming a much-anticipated event – the annual Taste of Bayside.
Organized by the Bayside Business Association (BBA), this year’s food fest was on Tuesday, January 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. hosted by Cue bar, located at 45-18 Bell Boulevard.
Specially made hardboard covers converted the pool tables into kitchen/buffets where, for a flat fee, tasters could sample delicacies as diverse as Queens itself – from filet mignon and crusted, seared tuna to White Castle burgers.
Mexican dishes served up by Tequila Sunrise were accompanied by traditional musicians, to serenade tasters at their corner of gustatory heaven, while music from corporate sponsor Party 87.7/105.3 FM suffused the room.
Not far away, Fino Wine & Tapas Bar offered such exotic treats as Garlic shrimp with chorizo and wild mushroom & goat cheese crostini. Manager Min Kim was happy, because, “People are loving our food.” Co-owner Frank Byon added, “Everyone is saying ‘wow!’” They plan to return next year.
“This is the best chance for people to try restaurants they wouldn’t ordinarily frequent,” said Dominick Bruccoleri, owner of Papazzio Restaurant as he whipped up one of his signature dishes.
Bruccoleri’s establishment is a fixture on Bell Boulevard, but as BBA vice-president and president of the Bayside Improvement District (BID) he takes a personal interest in making the annual event – and his commercial neighbors – a success.
BBA President Judith Limpert, a banker and not a restaurateur, was busy supervising along with event organizer Angela Gozzi of AG Media. They generally agreed that, “Dining in Bayside is like going to Manhattan at Queens prices.”
They also thanked media sponsors The Daily News and The Queens Courier for their support.
Limpert and Bruccoleri are so gratified by the response to the event that their groups are considering bringing back a Bell Boulevard Street Fair.
“We have the framework for a great, family-oriented event,” Bruccoleri said. He and Limpert dismiss old complaints. “You can’t drink on the street like the old days,” he said.
Author’s note: In the print editions, ownership of Fino Wine & Tapas Bar was incorrectly stated. Frank Byon and Min Kim own Fino.