Local residents sampled some of the best dishes from area restaurants last week, at the inaugural Flavor of the Willistons. The event not only gave eateries the chance to highlight some of their fare, but a portion of proceeds also went towards American Legion Post #144.
Organized by the Chamber of the Willistons, Inc., this event was a long time coming, said Chamber executive director Lucille Walters.
“We’ve been talking about it for a while. We wanted to do something to showcase the restaurants in the area,” Walters said.
When American Legion Post #144 expressed the need for a new roof—which would run them $75-$90,000—the Chamber thought having a tasting night would be the perfect way to raise money to help them.
“This tied both things together,” said Walters. “People feel very strongly about the Legion and wanting it to continue and be a success. That played a big part in it.”
More than 250 people attended the event, which was held at the Post. More than $5,000 was raised to help the Post offset their roof costs, and several businesses also offered to make contributions to help the Post pay for the much-needed upgrade.
“[Attendees] had no idea how much they needed this money,” Walters said. “This helped raise awareness of what the concerns and financial needs of the Post are. Most people want to help them be successful and to get a new roof on that building.”
Walters noted that putting together an event like this took a lot of hard work and planning, but the committee who worked on it was committed to making the Flavor of the Willistons a success. Angelina’s, Cugini Pizzeria, Eric’s Italian Bistro, Frantoni’s Pizzeria, Harry’s Hilltop Deli, Polito’s Bakery, Andrea’s Bakery, Memories 2 Bar and Grill, Plum Tomatoes, Sangria 71, Sri Pra Phai, Sweet to Lick, Taverna 38 and Yummy Gyro all served up healthy servings of their fare for attendees to sample, and guests also enjoyed cash bars and live music.
“It’s a good way for local residents to go around and taste different food from different places,” Walters said. “It’s an opportunity to show off the Williston Park restaurants and restaurants in surrounding neighborhoods.”
Jose Fernandez from Sangria 71 was serving up paella at the event.
“I came to support the community,” Fernandez said. “I think it’s great we’re having this for the first time and I firmly believe it’ll keep growing.”
Walters said a lot of people have asked them to hold the event again and many had good things to say about the inaugural event.
“We were very happy, we got a lot of positive feedback,” Walters said. “It was excellent for the first year and a lot of people were very supportive.”