Eighth-annual ‘Taste of Sunnyside’ draws in hundreds of eager foodies

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS

Rain couldn’t stop hundreds of eager foodies and beer enthusiasts from coming to Sunnyside on May 22 for the eighth Taste of Sunnyside food festival.

Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District once again hosted the event, under the leadership of the organization’s executive director, Jaime-Faye Bean. Prior to the festival, Bean expressed her excitement over the successful ticket sales to the event.

“The Taste has always been a wonderful community event, and our outdoor beer garden, games, live entertainment and more food than ever are going to ensure a really memorable experience for attendees,” Bean said.

Event attendees at the Sunnyside event experienced a unique opportunity to try food and drink from local restaurants, pubs, bars and breweries at the P.C Richards parking lot at 52-02 Queens Blvd. In past years, the event was held in the parking structure under the 7 Train, but moved this year to accommodate the growing number of vendors and guests.

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS - Lechon kawali at Tito Rad's Grill
Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS – Lechon Kawali at Tito Rad’s Grill

Guests had the option to purchase several levels of tickets. General admission tickets were $40 and allowed attendees to enter the event when it began at 6:30 p.m., while the $70 VIP option let guests enter the festival an hour earlier to get a head start on a night of eating and drinking.

Tuesday’s Taste of Sunnyside featured an array of selections from over 20 eateries representing the cultural variety of the neighborhood.

The selections ranged from skirt steak slathered in mole from De Mole (Mexican), chicken inasal and lechon kawali from Tito Rad’s Grill (Filipino), almond-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon from Bantry Bay Publick House (Gastropub) and ghost pepper grilled cheese sandwiches and wings from Jack’s Fire Department (American Pub Favorites).

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS
Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS – Caprese sandwich from Jack’s Fire Department

Other restaurants in attendance included Sidetracks (Modern Pub), Cumbia y Sabor (Colombian), The Lowery Bar and Kitchen (Gastropub), Bliss 46 Bistro (French), I Love Paraguay (Paraguayan), Senso Unico (Italian) and Ottomanelli Burgers and Fries (gourmet burgers) each offering unique samples off their restaurant menus.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended the festivities, and spoke in support of all the local businesses. He encouraged attendees to not only eat and drink from the local businesses in attendance, but also to check them out after Taste of Sunnyside.

Attendees also received a Taste of Sunnyside passport book filled with coupons to encourage guests to patronize the restaurants and other businesses even after the festival was over.

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS - Skirt steak from De Mole
Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS – Skirt steak from De Mole

Guests who were 21 and older also had the option to try beers from some of Queens’ local breweries and bars, including Big aLICe Brewing, Queens Brewery, War Flag Brewing, LIC Beer Project as well as some international beers served by Five Points Trading Company and Pilsner Urquell. Other beverages were provided by global wine distributors and other drink sponsors who provided non-alcoholic drinks.

Afro-Latineers and Underground Horns provided live musical entertainment as guests noshed on their selections and local game bar Solid State supplied several table-top games and served as host for Taste of Sunnyside’s after-party.