Gourmet night is coming

‘Taste of Weehawken’ offers delicious way to support library

Foodies, rejoice! One of the top culinary events of the year is nearly upon us, as more than 30 of the area’s top eateries will showcase their cuisine at the 16th annual Taste of Weehawken on Tuesday, April 26. Attendees can sample from local restaurants, caterers, bakers, and food specialty shops, and savor more than 150 varieties of wine, beer, and cordials, all for one low price. Best of all, the proceeds go to support the historic Weehawken Public Library.
A selection of participating restaurants joined together at the library on Wednesday, April 13 at the library to publicize the event. Among those attending were Houlihan’s and GP’s Restaurant and Bar – both of which have participated in Taste of Weehawken since inception – along with newcomers like Shakin’ Café/Juice Bar and even students from the Weehawken High School culinary program, who will be offering specially prepared treats.
“I believe this is a great event value-wise,” said George Politis of GP’s. “For what you pay at the door, between the food and the drink, you’re having a great time. And then you get to dessert and you have 90 choices. Everybody’s bringing quality because they want to show up well.”
GP’s will once again be offering their marvelous meatball sliders at the event, as well as house salad, and fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil.

“Last year was my first time attending and I was really blown away by how many different types of foods there are.” – Nicole Denis
“Last year was my first time attending and I was really blown away by how many different types of foods there are,” said Nicole Denis from Houlihan’s. “I didn’t know there were so many different types of restaurants in such a small area. And they’re very, very good.”
Houlihan’s will offer their Navajo chicken pasta, alongside stuffed mushrooms with garlic herb cream cheese. “And we’ll do our famous classic homemade baked potato soup, topped off with cheese, scallions, and bacon. It’s to die for,” said Banquet Manager Ali Huda. “It’s great to see the different trends and the concepts come out and share their menu with everybody and give us a taste. Because normally you’re kind of limited to what you already know. By everybody coming out and showing what they have, it opens up your eyes to different types of foods in the area.”
“We’ve developed a community between us and the other restaurants that participate,” said Eliana Stefanitsis from Molos Restaurant. “So it’s great to see everybody and reconnect here. In addition, it’s wonderful to try everybody’s food. We look forward to that.”
Molos will offer items from their menu specializing in Mediterranean seafood. They have participated in the event since the restaurant opened on the waterfront three years ago, and enjoy supporting the library. “I love it,” said Stefanitsis. “I’m formerly a teacher, so anything that has to do with education and children, I’m 100 percent in.”

Tasty treats

Probably the newest establishment joining the event this year is Shakin’, which has only been open for about a month on Park Avenue in Weehawken. “We offer a healthy option to the community,” said owner Yampiero Dedios. The shop sells salads, soups, sandwiches, and wraps, as well as signature shakes and shots.
For Taste of Weehawken, “We’re going to be bringing this new shot that is a mixture between wheat grass and ginger, that helps your immune system,” said Dedios. “We’re also going to have our refresh-rehydrate shake, which is all antioxidants from berries and has a very good taste. And our all-organic lentil and chicken soup.”
Raised in Jersey City and currently a resident of North Bergen, Dedios worked the café at Club H Fitness in Hoboken before opening his first Shakin’ near the Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Now he’s come home to Jersey. “The community’s shown us a lot of love,” he said.
Weehawken resident Kathryn Marlow has brought Kathryn’s Confections to the event annually since she founded the company three years ago. Last year her delicious chocolates were a huge hit, with 800 goodies vanishing in a couple of hours. This year she’s bringing even more.
“That’s a lot of chocolate,” she laughed. “This year I’m bringing dessert truffles. I’m doing a white chocolate key lime pie truffle, a milk chocolate Bananas Foster truffle, and a white chocolate crème brulee truffle.”
A longtime chocolatier who was talked into starting her business by friends and family, Marlow offers her tasty treats online and at local events. “I’ll make whatever you want and deliver it locally,” she said. “Or you can pick up my house. Some people do that: have a chocolate run late at night.”
Those with a sweet tooth will have plenty of options to choose from, including Ben and Jerry’s, a nine-year participant in the event. They will offer three vegan, non-dairy flavors this year. “We always try to change it up and add different flavors,” said Amanda Ortiz-Corbato.
“They’re always adding new flavors to the shop in general,” said Union City resident Sibel Berberoglu, whose official title is “Chief Flavor Guru.” “There’s always something fresh.”
“I’m an avid reader, as my whole family is, so I really support the library,” said Ortiz-Corbato. “It’s like a rite of passage, getting your first library card. I want to make sure that people understand how important libraries are. They cultivate our history.”

Benefiting the community

“We get about 400 people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and they love it,” said Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner about the much-anticipated annual fundraiser. “Weehawken’s a small community and these events make it a better community.”
“Taste of Weehawken benefits and enhances all of our library programs,” said Library Co-director Holly Pizzuta. “It allows us to do so much more than we can do now, with more than our normal budget – things like art exhibits, guest lecturers, and enhancing the technology area for our children’s department.”
“Our library is a gem,” said Weehawken resident Joyce Flinn, owner of Amanda’s in Hoboken, a longtime supporter of the event. “Not just the beautiful windows and the beautiful architecture, but the very caring librarians.”
And through Taste of Weehawken, attendees get to support the library and support local businesses, all while eating spectacular food. “It’s good for the community,” said Flinn. “Weehawken is such a unique little city. The townspeople don’t have that many opportunities to see one another because of the geography. Because we have more residents moving into the waterfront, this is way for them to see what the town is like.”
Giannone Wine and Liquor, a huge supporter of the event, will once again provide 12 tables of beverages including craft beers and fine wines.
Two tiers of tickets are available. General admission tickets cost $35 and allow access from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Preview hour tickets cost $60 and offer an extra hour, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., along with raffle tickets for valuable prizes like entertainment cruises, play tickets, and restaurant gift certificates.
Tickets can be purchased at the library, 49 Hauxhurst Ave., or online at brownpapertickets.com. The event takes place on April 26 at the Food Court in Lincoln Harbor, 1200 Harbor Boulevard.

Art Schwartz may be reached at arts@hudsonreporter.com.

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