Hundreds dine at the annual Taste of LIC

THE COURIER/photo by Sarah Yu

Dozens of Long Island City restaurants served up specialty snacks and sweet treats at the Taste of LIC. The seventh annual culinary cabaret drew several hundred hungry guests, smacking their chops for a sampling of the neighborhood’s finest fare.

Attendees crowded under an enormous white tent at Gantry Plaza State Park for the June 5 food festival, tasting everything from curried merguez meatballs from LIC Market to watermelon marshmallows from Mitchmallows

Bear Bar chef Natasha Pogrebinsky was ecstatic to participate in the event. She had high hopes for the promotional possibilities it could provide for her new restaurant, only open for the past seven months.

“We want to show off our amazing cuisine,” said Pogrebinsky. “It’s a chance for more people to meet us and have samples of our menu. We’re still pretty new. It’s a great chance to meet people in person. We’re a little bit out of the way, so we’re going to the people.”

The event benefitted The Chocolate Factory’s upcoming season of dance, music and theatre performances.

Shelia Lewandowski, the playhouse’s executive director, said the fair has the ability to bring together those responsible for providing some of the area’s best food.

“[The Taste of LIC] is a broad representation of the food and beverages that are all right here,” said Lewandowski. “It’s cool that you can discover all these things right in your backyard.”

The festival, now in its seventh year, began as a way for the theatre to bring together multiple parts of the community while raising money for programming at The Chocolate Factory. The first year, the Taste of LIC hosted roughly 12 restaurants and saw 200 guests. Every year, the festival grew.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer attended the celebration, sampling the featured cuisine. Van Bramer adored Manducatis Rustica’s grilled shrimp served on sugar cane – a combination he categorized as “unique and exciting.”

“I feel lucky to represent such a dynamic area that is home to so many cultural organizations and so many restaurants and small businesses supporting the neighborhood,” said Van Bramer.

The councilmember applauded the festival for its ability to introduce the public to what’s new and good to eat locally.

“You try stuff and say ‘Oh my God that’s really good! I have to eat there for real.’”

Additional reporting by Sarah Yu

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