In past years, the event was held at Gantry Plaza State Park, but according to founder Sheila Lewandowski, organizers have been trying for years to allow chefs to cook along the waterfront. They’ve been unsuccessful because it was difficult to find a power source.
“We we’re 8 years at Gantry Plaza, which was great. It’s a beautiful setting,” she said. “But then we had asked for many years for the chefs to be able to cook. That’s what they do. We weren’t able to do it.”
This year, the event will take place on June 6 and 40 restaurants, breweries, coffee shops and liquor stores will serve their goods to participants in Astoria.
Tracy Capune, vice president of Kaufman Astoria Studios, offered the lot to Taste of LIC so that participating vendors could cook and grill during the event. Though not all vendors will prepare food on site, others like Gordo’s Cantina and Zenon Taverna are excited to bring in their own equipment and cooking staff, Lewandowski said.
Participating businesses include M. Wells, Dutch Kills Centraal, Crabhouse LIC, Woodbines, Beija Flor, Kurry Qulture and more. Local breweries will be offering drinks and attendees will be treated to wine tastings and mocktails.
In addition to samples from local establishments, more than 60 raffle prizes will be given out, including gift certificates to Long Island City haunts, JetBlue vouchers, tickets to performances throughout the city and more. Proceeds will benefit The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City and five girl scouts troops from Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City, including Troop 6000, which is made up of girls who live at the Sleep Inn homeless shelter in Long Island City.
Yanira Castro, an artist and choreographer, will perform with her artist collective a canary torsi during the event and The Astor Room will hold an after-party, where they will create two special cocktails.
A general admission ticket costs $65 and will get you in from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The $150 “milk chocolate” ticket gives attendees access to the Exclusive First Hour starting at 5:30 p.m. and the “Special Dark” for $400 includes two tickets and access to the Exclusive First Hour.
Admission for newborns is free and children ages 3 to 11 can get in for $25.
Lewandowski said the event helps to “build a community” and encourages western Queens residents to “help us celebrate whats great about Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills and Hunters Point.”
For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit the Chocolate Factory Theater website.