The Greater Egg Harbor City Chamber of Commerce's second annual International Taste of the Town is set for April 28 at Renault Winery Resort and Golf in Egg Harbor City.
Last year's inaugural fundraiser was a great success, chamber media consultant Nanette LoBiondo Galloway said. It was a sold-out event with 200 attendees, and 17 Egg Harbor City restaurants offered samples of their signature dishes.
This year's event is expected to be even bigger and better, she said, as the chamber will welcome restaurant participants from outside Egg Harbor City, and 300 tickets will be sold - 100 more than last year.
The chamber is still seeking restaurants to participate in the Taste of the Town, and hopes to gather about 20 in all. So far, 13 have signed up, with some returning for the second year, including Assaggio!, Mario's Uptown Grille and Renault's Winery's Joseph's Restaurant.
Assaggio! celebrated its first anniversary in March, and owner Mary Reyes said last year's Taste of the Town helped them to get their name out in the community.
"It was great," Reyes said. "We had fun. We introduced ourselves to our community, and we met the different restaurant owners in the area."
Participation is free for the restaurants, which are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The main benefit of participating in the event is the community outreach and exposure.
"(The restaurants) donate their food, and in return they gain exposure and hopefully new customers in the future," Galloway said.
To help track any new customers resulting from the event, the chamber will put together a booklet of coupons from the participating restaurants to be handed out during Taste of the Town. That way, when a person later comes into the restaurant with the coupon, it's likely they were at the event.
The Egg Harbor City format is different than typical taste of the town events, where guests try small samples of several cuisines. Egg Harbor City's International Taste of the Town is an all-you-can-eat, sit-down, buffet-style dining experience "with china, tablecloths and candles."
"We want people to eat a lot and drink a lot and enjoy what the area has to offer," Galloway said. "At the end of last year's event, when all of the chefs were packing up for the night, they were swapping leftover food, like, 'Here, you take my lasagna home and I'll take your pierogies.' They were all complimenting each other on their cuisines. That's what this is all about."
The Taste of the Town will include live entertainment by local band Route 9, a full cash bar, a Chinese auction and vendors selling dining-related homemade goods such as canned preserves and handmade linens.
The chamber invites vendors to set up tables at the event free of charge, but asks for a donation or a gift certificate for the Chinese auction.
Proceeds from the Taste of the Town will benefit the Greater Egg Harbor City Chamber of Commerce. Last year's event proceeds were used to purchase snowflake lights for the 300 block of Philadelphia Avenue, Galloway said. This year's will fund banners for Philadelphia Avenue. The chamber also plans to make a donation to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, and a nonperishable food collection box will be on-site during the event.
"Since this event is all about food, we thought it would be nice to give back to the local food bank," Galloway said.
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
Greater Egg Harbor City Chamber of Commerce's second annual International Taste of the Town
4 to 8 p.m. April 28
Renault Winery Resort and Golf, 72 N. Bremen Ave., Egg Harbor City
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, and are available at internationaltasteoftown.com. Checks should be made payable to Greater EHC Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 129, Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215