Sample a Taste of Bayside

Tony Portillo (l.), from 3Bros BBQ, dishes out a snack to Nina Rosado.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Offering patrons the opportunity to sample a smorgasbord of eastern Queens’ flavors in a convenient setting, Taste of Bayside will return Jan 25.

Twenty-five restaurants have already signed up for the epicurean event, which will be held at the Adria Hotel & Conference Center on Northern Boulevard from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Bayside Business Association President Judy Limpert said she expects more eateries to sign on in the following weeks.

“We ask restaurants to bring their signature dish. People can come and sample restaurants, desserts, bake shops, beer and wine,” she said. “Typically we have between 25 and 30, but we do get more coming on toward the end.”

The annual tasting got its start, she said, after street festivals were banned on Bell Boulevard due to a poor reputation generated by the rowdy and raucous events. Afterward, the BBA was looking for a way to exhibit the boulevard’s eateries.

“We used to always focus a lot on Bell Boulevard’s restaurant row. There are many fine dining restaurants going back years and years and years. We always thought it would be a focus to showcase them,” Limpert said.

“It expanded from Bell Boulevard to all over Bayside, from Francis Lewis [Boulevard] down to the Long Island Expressway to Anthony’s down on Union Turnpike,” she said. “11360, 11361 and 11364 — all the zip codes in Bayside.”

The title may be a bit of a misnomer, though, as Strawberry’s Sports Grill in Douglaston will make its debut at the event this year. Other newcomers such as Valentino’s on the Green, Surfside Beach and Maria’s Trattoria will join stalwarts like Bourbon Street, Papazzio and C.J. Sullivan’s American Grill.

Limpert said, “2011 was not a good year for quite a few restaurants, I’m hearing,” as patrons chose to cut back on eating out.

“I guess people have the mindset .... I don’t know that anyone actually has less money unless they lost their job, but the mindset is they’re afraid to spend it,” she said. “Eating out is one of the luxuries all Americans do, and I think they pulled back a little.”

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door.

“You can taste anything you want from any restaurant. For $30, it’s amazing what you’re going to get,” Limpert said. “You almost can’t eat all of it!”

For information and tickets, visit tastequeens.com or call 718-261-3517.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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