Spring Your Appetite with Taste of Rockaway This Saturday!

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As aptly stated by the ever-notorious and much loved, Whitney Aycock of Whit’s End, this Saturday, April 28, Rockaway can finally say, “Spring is sprung!” with the kickoff of this year’s Annual Taste of Rockaway!

With more than 24 Rockaway Beach locations featuring an eclectic array of sumptuous cuisines from 29 local foodie businesses, it’s time to get your walking shoes and make sure your belly is empty because as you consume those well worth it, yummy calories — you will be stomping around town literally burning it all for more!

Using the map on each ticket, locals and visitors alike can choose exactly where they want to go — or take on the ultimate belly-popping challenge — by going to all 24 locations, extending from Beach 72nd to 102nd Streets. With the great ticket price of $15 in advance or $20 on the day of, how can you resist delectable choices ranging from Thai, West Indian, Uzbek, Italian, Peruvian, desserts — too much to list, but you get the idea. Note that the event has no start or end place, it’s a crawl at your pace, in any order you choose. Just be rest assured, you will receive a sampling of food from every participating location you make it to.

Purchase your ticket at any of the participating businesses or online, (where you can also check out the map) at www.rockawayunion.org. Tickets purchased online can be picked up at Thai Rock (375 Beach 92nd Street). The ticket allows each participant to get a sampling of what each restaurant has to offer on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.

The food march route this year includes: 101 Deli, Best Caribbean Restaurant & Grill, Bungalow Bar & Restaurant, Community House, CROM Physical Culture, Elegante Pizza, Fat Cardinal Provisions, La Cabaña Peruana, Last Dragon Pizza, Liquid Bread, Paninico, Pico, Polly & Esther, Rockaway Beach Bakery, Rockaway Brewing Company, Rockaway Roasters, Rocket Rolls, Sayra’s Wine Bar, Ship To Shore Wine Shop, Station RBNY, Surfside Bagels, Thai Rock, The Rock, The Studio Phantasmagoria, The Swellife Fashion Truck, Uma’s, Uncle Louie G, Whit’s End and Zingara Vintage, who will be hosting the underground, but scrumptious in-demand Last Dragon Pizza. Note that some of the aforementioned favorite culinary business delights will be hosting pop-ups. Pico will be at CROM, and Paninico will be at the new boutique and tattoo parlor, The Studio Phantasmagoria.

Though the route has shortened in size and length, this year’s ever-growing lineup and reputation was impressive enough that NYC Ferry has joined as a sponsor. According to Robert Kaskel, event organizer and owner of Thai Rock, “Last year, the event attracted over 2,000 participants, and with NYC Ferry on board this year as a sponsor, we anticipate even more people. NYC Ferry has been running ads on all of their boats, so this year’s event is definitely going to bring more people to Rockaway, ready to literally dive in and taste everything delicious we have to offer.”

Aycock from Whit’s End, already popular with locals and visitors, is excited about this Saturday. “I’ve been participating in Taste of Rockaway since its genesis. For many of us, this Saturday is a significant statement — January is finally over. Let the spring/summer fun time begin! I love my location at this spot on Beach 97th and the Boulevard. There is something ‘real world’ about who walks past here everyday.” Aycock added, as he coyly winked, “And this Saturday, I am going to serve the food and service Whit’s is known for.”

New apparel and tattoo studio, The Studio Phantasmagoria, co-owned by Jackii Ramis and Taryn Elise, will be doing a soft opening at the event featuring a pop-up from Beach 116th’s Paninico. “We really planned to have our official opening on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), but after speaking with Robert, this was a no-brainer. This Saturday, we get to present ourselves to the community, start building relationships, and show what we have to offer,” Elise said.

For longtime business, Elegante, owner Toni Amato, says the smiles from visitors keeps him serving up tasty Italian treats at each Taste. “It’s so nice to see the community come together just for the love of Rockaway, and of course, our great pizza!”

When asked why he keeps organizing the Taste every year for the last four years, Kaskel said, “I keep doing this because it’s so in demand. People actually approach me, demanding to know when the next Taste will be. The community loves it. It’s almost like a pre-Memorial Day unofficial kickoff to summer. It’s healthy for us because folks come out, get some fresh air and sun, see old friends, make new friends, all the while indulging in Rockaway’s best cuisine.”

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