By Sue Botos
Uncertain weather may have driven away the annual Memory Lane Car Show last weekend, but it was full speed ahead for the 10th Taste of River/Buy River, which saw a record crowd sampling offerings from 16 businesses.
Based on ticket sales the event, sponsored by Giant Eagle and the Presidential Luxury Apartments, drew over 750 people, breaking last year’s record of 700. A steady flow of patrons entered the Don Umerley Civic Center throughout the three-hour event, sampling the wares of favorites such as Salmon Dave’s Pacific Grille, and newcomers including the Winking Lizard.
Several other new businesses introduced themselves to the community, including Indulge Coffee and Tea, Piada Italian Street Food and the River Dog Cafe. Cravings Cafe offered portions of its new Thai menu.
Mitchell’s continued to dominate attendee voting for Best Dessert, which it has claimed since voting in the category began in 2011. According to information provided by Rocky River Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Manning, the voting for Best Food was close, but River Dog Cafe captured the title by a narrow margin.
“The Chamber of Commerce is proud to produce this true community event and give our restaurants and retailers the opportunity to market their businesses. It’s great to see the event grow every year; it really helps the businesses to connect with the community. The vendors, volunteers and attendees all had a great time.”
Other big numbers were posted by Pearl of the Orient, which served over 500 plates of food, and Danny Boy’s, which sold over 300 servings of pizza, breadsticks and pasta. Attendees were able to purchase tickets in $1 increments to feed their foodie need.
Customers could also take a break from the festivities with a chair massage from Tomorrows Salon. Deneen Koehler offered to preserve memories of the day with a photo booth featuring creative props.
John Lester, co-owner of Jersey Mike’s Subs, donated his shop’s event proceeds to the Rocky River Chamber Education Fund. “We enjoy participating in Taste of River. It gives us an opportunity to promote our business and get to know our customers better. Rocky River is a great community to be a part of,” he stated.
Those with a sweet tooth also had the chance to sample the winners of the Baker & Co. brownie bake-off. In the age 21 and over category, Kate Joyce took first place, Stephanie Allen second and Barbara McGraw third. McGraw said she has been making her “Turtle Brownies” for over 30 years. She said husband Kevin pitched in by unwrapping caramels and by making an emergency trip to Giant Eagle for more powdered sugar.
In the under 21 category, Ethan Mylett captured first place, Eliza Steinmen second and Claire Bulic third. Ethan, who said he intends to keep baking, said there were no secret ingredients. “I got the recipe off of the Internet,” he explained.
For many fun-seekers, the day was a big splash, courtesy of a fire hose demonstration by the Rocky River Fire Department. As she watched her son Tyler help Lt. Aaron Lenart aim the hose at an orange cone, Kristy Peck, of Olmsted Township, remarked, “I wish our city had something like this!”