Sept. 8, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The Taste of Sunnyside, an annual event that aims to showcase the diverse restaurant mix of the neighborhood, will return this year with a new twist given COVID-19.
The annual event, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is being revamped as a restaurant/bar crawl as opposed to being held in one location under a big tent. The Taste is also going to be held on a Sunday—given the longer crawl format–as opposed to the traditional Tuesday evening
The event will provide foodies with the opportunity to go door-to-door to sample the food and beverages offered by approximately 30 local eateries. There will also be several trollies available to bus attendees along the route.
The new format was inspired, in part, by a desire to help people associate the food they sample with the brick and mortar establishments, according to Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), which organizes the event.
“This year, attendees will actually see the location of each participating restaurant, which will be good for repeat business from Taste ticket buyers,” Bean said. “And with the continued caution around the COVID-19 virus, an open-air restaurant crawl that keeps people outdoors and distanced will help us ensure this is a safe event.”
Last year, The Taste of Sunnyside was scheduled to take place in May but the onset of the pandemic forced organizers to postpone the event until October. The event was then canceled outright as the city continued to battle the virus into the fall and restrictions on large gatherings remained in place.
Bean said that this year’s event aims to give the local restaurant/bar industry a timely boost in the wake of the pandemic and the recent disruption caused to some businesses by Hurricane Ida.
The Taste of Sunnyside is the BID’s most popular event and aims to promote the district as a restaurant destination.
Some of the participating establishments include regular favorites like Sotto le Stelle, I love Paraguay, Riko Peruvian, Tito Rad’s, Dazies and 43 Bar & Grill. Businesses taking part for the first time include Sweet Avenue and Big Shane’s Ice Cream.
Ticket holders will be required to check-in for the event at Lowery Plaza – located at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard under the elevated 7 subway train – where they will be provided with recommended routes to follow on the crawl.
All attendees will be required to show proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to take part, organizers said.
VIP ticket holders will be able to start the event an hour earlier—at 2 p.m. They will also be provided with a dedicated trolley and be entitled to skip regular lines at each stop.
A live DJ will play throughout the day at Lowery Plaza, while attendees can also capture the moment at a photo booth at the location.
In previous years tickets have sold out well in advance and the public is being advised to purchase tickets early. Tickets can be bought online by clicking here.
A list of participating restaurants/bars are listed below and more are expected to be added to the event over the coming weeks.
43 Bar & Grill (sports bar)
Alewife Brewing Company (brewpub)
Arriba Arriba (Mexican restaurant)
Austin East Ciders
Big aLICe Brewing (brewing company)
Big Shane’s Ice Cream (ice cream makers)
Bliss 46 Bistro (French bistro)
Chakra Cafe (Turkish coffee and breakfast shop)
Dazies Restaurant (Italian restaurant)
Firefly Petite Bistro & Cafe (Latin American & southern European cafe/bistro)
Fresh n’ Save (marketplace)
Green Valley Marketplace (marketplace)
I Love Paraguay (Paraguayan restaurant)
Jack’s Fire Department (American bar)
La Adelita de Woodside (Mexican bakery and restaurant)
La Vienesa Bakery (Colombian bakery)
Maggie Mae’s Bar (neighborhood bar)
Mangal Kebab (Turkish restaurant)
Rincon Melania (Ecuadorian restaurant)
Riko Peruvian (Peruvian restaurant)
Sanger Hall (American bar/restaurant)
Senso Unico (Italian restaurant)
Single Cut Beersmiths (brewery)
SoleLuna (Italian restaurant)
Sotto le Stelle (Neopolitan pizza, restaurant)
Sweet Avenue (bar focusing on craft beers)
The Lowery Bar & Kitchen (local bar/restaurant)
Tito Rad’s (Filipino restaurant)