Mark your calendars, because a day of delicious exploration is on its way!
At the end of April, Trenton restaurants across the city began receiving invitations to join the 7th Taste Trenton restaurant weekend scheduled for June 9th through June 11th. By the close of registration, Taste Trenton welcomed three dozen restaurants to its self-guided restaurant crawl. During the “tour” guests can visit and try out any and all of the restaurants at a low cost while learning a little about their food and ambiance.
Taste Trenton coordinator, Bernard McMullan, notes that Taste Trenton differs from other community-based restaurant events in several ways. “First, this is not a showcase of restaurants in a large arena or park where guests move among the tables to get a dollop of a pasta, appetizer, or dessert. We wanted guests to see where a restaurant is located, walk across their threshold, sit at a table, and really get a feel of the restaurant. Second, Taste Trenton is not a guided tour where a group of guests are brought to a restaurant and given the same meal before moving as a group to the next restaurant. Third, it differs from a traditional restaurant week because we are focused on exposing guests to as many restaurants as possible over a weekend. One can certainly take advantage of special dinner menus at many restaurants, but most guests are interested in trying out multiple places over three days.”
For their part, restaurants must submit a brief application describing their special “tasting menu” dishes that Taste Trenton participants can order when they enter the restaurants they choose. Typically, restauranteurs offer small plate specials for $3 to $10. In recent years, many participating restaurants also have dinner and drink specials as well. Last year, Taste Trenton also featured several establishments that offered breakfast fare to allow participants to start their “tour” early. McMullan encourages restaurants to share their everyday menus with Taste Trenton guests. That way guests get a better sense of what a restaurant has to offer and can plan to return weeks or months later. He confides that most persons do not realize that there are close to 100 non-chain, independent, sit-down restaurants in Trenton. “We are doing our part to promote them to both Trentonians and to visitors from throughout the region.”
In 2022, Taste welcomed approximately 275 guests who designed their own tours of 40 different restaurants participating in the event. “We make a special effort to recruit newly-opened restaurants and restaurants who have not participated in prior years,” McMullan says, “and we are always happy to welcome back restaurants that have joined in prior years.”
Taste Trenton offers weekend passes to the event for $10.00 in the form reusable wristbands. (Daily passes are available for $7.00). Both may be reserved at www.TasteTrenton.com. Taste Trenton guests are provided a map plus an on-line link that shows each restaurant’s name, address, telephone, and website as well as its 2023 Taste Trenton “special menu.” The map and website also indicate which restaurants are newly opened, those that are new to the tour, and those who are returning. In addition, the materials indicate which Taste Trenton days and hours the restaurant will be open, the type of cuisine offered, as well as an indication of which accept credit cards and which offer wine, beer, or other alcoholic drinks, allow BYOB, or that prohibit alcoholic beverages. “We maintain the Taste Trenton website throughout the year, so our guests can continue using it as a guide to identify other restaurants to try.”
Taste Trenton began in June 2015 when the Trenton Council of Civic Associations ran a single-day event focused on fewer than a dozen restaurants, all located in the Chambersburg restaurant district in the city. In subsequent years, Taste Trenton was established as a volunteer, registered NJ not-for-profit organization effort with a small board of trustees. It has gradually expanded to three days and to include the entire city.
If any restaurant owner or manager has not received or has mislaid their 2023 application, they should contact Bernard McMullan at RiverVUE1622@gmail.com and request a restaurant registration form.
Taste Trenton wristbands can be purchased on line at www.tastetrenton.com or by visiting the Taste Trenton table at Artworks (19 Everett Alley across from the NJ MVC office in Trenton). Hours for purchasing Wristbands are listed on the Taste Trenton website. A full-weekend band wristband pass is $10.00 and $7.00 for a daily pass.
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