Taste of Rockaway: Eat, Walk & Eat Some More This Saturday!

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Foodies, grab a bite or 20 at Rockaway’s hungrily-anticipated Taste of Rockaway culinary neighborhood food march, happening this Saturday, May 4, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Hosted by the Rockaway Union, the annual event with the great ticket price of $15 in advance or $20 day of—from Thai, Italian, Uzbek, Caribbean, classic American fare like barbecue and burgers, fine wines and gourmet desserts, plus more—dishes up a smorgasbord of mouth-watering treats, offering both familiar and new flavors. The event has no start or end place, it’s just an appetizing crawl at your pace, in any order you choose. Just be rest assured, you will receive a sampling of food from every participating spot. Also, another added bonus—all the participating businesses are within walking distance of each other, and are excited to not just woo your taste buds, but unitedly boost Rockaway as the ultimate NYC seaside paradise for gastronomes.

Newcomer, Sorrentino's Meat Market will be offering all varieties of their homemade Italian sausages, chicken and turkey patties, and mozzarella. Though they have only been open for two weeks, the new addition is already creating a buzz amongst locals, and proprietor Vincent Sorrentino said he is more than excited to join in on the neighborhood fun with Taste of Rockaway. “We’re brand new to Rockaway, and locals are already becoming not just customers, but friends. Folks are happy that they don’t have to go all the way to Brooklyn or Howard Beach to get real authentic Italian fresh food,” he said, adding that events like this will give him even more exposure, much like the recent announcement that the Cross Bay Bridge will be free for all Queens residents starting next year. “Must be a sign from above that we are meant to be in Rockaway, so now all our customers both near and far, can now come in and enjoy our goods without the hassle of a toll,” Sorrentino said with a smile.

RBQ, the barbecue Boulevard joint that opened last July, will be dishing out brisket, pulled pork and chicken, ribs, their signature mac 'n' meat, chicken wings, a sampling of their appetizers and more. Also, they will have live entertainment in the afternoon. Co-owner John Moroney, with his son, Ryan, said, “Taste of Rockaway is great not just for local restaurants, but the entire community. We get to informally introduce ourselves to each other, where people come in, feel welcomed, satisfied, and of course, have fun!”

Just a few doors down, Whitney Aycock of the ever popular (should we say notorious?), Whit’s End, who has participated in Taste of Rockaway since its beginnings, is beyond stoked to be a part of the food march again. “We were one of the first food establishments to participate, and of course, we’re back. Of course, I like to surprise folks. However, here’s a teaser…Jersey asparagus,” Aycock said with a cunning wink.

Further down the Boulevard, another newcomer, Oasis Ramen House, will be offering a sample of their deliciously steamy Tonkotsu ramen and appetizers, Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) and popcorn shrimp, plus the thirsty will be treated to a free Sapporo beer or carbonated strawberry-flavored soda.

Here’s a list of all the businesses participating: Community House, 101 Deli, Sorrentino's Meat Market, RBQ, Whit’s End, Surfside Bagels, Uma’s, The Studio Phantasmagoria, Mara’s Ice Cream Parlor (previously Uncle Louie G’s Italian Ice), Rockaway Roasters, Elegante Pizzeria, The Rock, Sayra’s Wine Bar, Fat Cardinal Provisions, Ship To Shore Wine Shop, Rockaway Beach Bakery, Thai Rock, Bungalow Bar & Restaurant and Rockaway Brewing Company. Also, fashion boutique, Polly & Esther, will be hosting a pop-up at Whit’s; The Swellife will have its doors wide open for newcomers to take advantage of heavily-discounted items specially priced for the event; Zingara Vintage is hosting Wilderness Yard’s chaga tinctures, salves and raw chaga with owner, William Francis, sharing his chaga tea; and surf/skateboard shop Station RBNY will be offering a taste of the sweet Caribbean with Josie’s Delites.

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.

Wondering how to navigate this day of food nirvana? Using the map on each ticket, locals and visitors alike can choose exactly where they want to go—or take on the ultimate belly-busting challenge—by going to all 24 locations, running from Beach 87th to Beach 102nd Streets.

Robert Kaskel, founder of the Rockaway Union’s Taste of Rockaway event and owner of Thai Rock, said through popular demand from both merchants and customers, he had to bring the event back. “We’ve been this doing every year since after Hurricane Sandy, sometimes even twice a year, with the goal of boosting the morale of the community. In late March, I was getting emails with folks asking, ‘When is the next Taste happening?’ Once I sent out the blast email to all the local businesses, the response was beyond gratifying. This event has two goals: To thank the communities for supporting local businesses and to give the businesses a chance to show off their love of what they create for the community,” Kaskel said.

According to Kaskel, all the proceeds go towards paying for advertising, the t-shirts and all the other expenses associated with the event. “The money that comes in from the ticket sales goes right back to the community. We advertise in all the local newspapers, which goes towards their efforts in keeping the community informed in their pages. Also, we patronize the local printers to create the posters and t-shirts. Even the event logo was designed by Geoff Rawling, a well-known NYC artist who lives right here in Rockaway. This event is all about shopping small and supporting locals. We’re bringing the community together, we’re celebrating the culture of Rockaway, and we’re also helping to build business.”

So folks, come out to Taste of Rockaway—where you will not just wow your palette, but experience what the community has to offer!

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