By Christy Scannell
A Normal Heights progressive meal tradition, the annual Taste of Adams Avenue, will take place June 28, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 25 restaurants are participating, including a few new to the neighborhood.
“There is something for everyone,” said Jim Schneider, executive director of the Adams Avenue Business Association, the event’s sponsor. “We have from very upscale to very casual and everything in between.”
One ticket ($25 in advance) allows a taster to visit all participating restaurants, most of which provide several cup-size selections from their menu.
“We’ll have a buffet table set up on our patio,” said George DiMille of DiMille’s Italian Restaurant, 3492 Adams Ave. DiMille’s will be serving baked rigatoni, ziti in tomato cream sauce and pizza squares. “We do this to hopefully capture new faces moving into the Avenue [area], or those who have been here but haven’t used us and need to find out about our great-tasting food.”
Although DiMille’s, a 41-year institution on Adams Avenue, has been part of the Taste since it began nine years ago, the new kids on the block are just as eager to take part. “We want to share our experience about Thai food with the people around here,” said Nam Kobchai, owner of Pinto Thai Cuisine, which opened a few months ago at 3381 Adams Ave. Pinto will offer tasters Thai chicken, fried tofu, samosas and Thai iced tea.
Other new participating restaurants include Blind Lady Alehouse (3416 Adams), El Zarape Mexican Restaurant (3201 Adams) and Viva Pops! (3330 Adams).
“This is a promotion for our business district and these restaurants obviously,” said Schneider, “but it’s also a fundraiser for our other programs.” Proceeds from the event, which is expected to draw 1,200 people, benefit the association’s efforts to improve the district, which in the last year included planting and trimming trees, painting streetlight poles and installing new trash cans and tree grates.
Although some tasters might prefer to walk off their feast, Schneider said three trolleys will provide transportation to ticket-holders on a hop-on, hop-off basis.
Advance tickets can be purchased at www.adamsavenueonline.com and at many of the participating restaurants (see the Web site for a list). Tickets the day of the event will be $30.