By KAITLYN NAPLES
Last year’s event proved to be such a success, the West End Association will be hosting its second annual Taste of Bristol for the month of March.
Tickets are $5 and are on sale now, and one ticket is good for 20 percent off your entire food portion of a bill at 37 participating restaurants in Bristol.
“This is a no brainer for the businesses, an easy sell for the consumer and it supports local businesses, which is the whole goal of the event,” said West End Association President Dave Hamelin.
This event is a fundraiser for the association’s annual summer festival at Rockwell Park, which grows every year with both vendors and guests. Last year, the Taste of Bristol raised about $4,000 and those funds went to cover costs at last August’s festival.
For the first ever Taste of Bristol last year, Hamelin said 31 local businesses participated and about 1,100 tickets were sold. This year, 37 businesses are participating, several have donated gift certificates to be put into a raffle for ticket buyers, and each ticket can be used once at each of the participating restaurants throughout the month of March.
Tickets are sold at several locations throughout Bristol, like 457 Mason Jar (Formerly Mikes Tortoise & Hare), Artist Tree Tea House, Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, Renaissance Downtowns (at their offices in City Hall), Cupcakes Galore, Downtown Café, Greer’s Chicken, Hamelin & Sons Auto Repair, Jimmy’s on the River, Parkside Café, Milestone, Riverview Apartments, Latino Restaurant, Sassu Cuts Hair Salon, South Side Meat Market, and more. Tickets also can be purchased at the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce Home and Business show on Feb. 22 and 23.
“We are hoping to sell at least as many tickets as we did last year,” Hamelin said, adding he received a lot of positive feedback from both restaurant owners and also patrons who participated in the event.
The West End Association has been growing in members. Its impact on the local community has been growing as well since its inception in 2011. Hamelin said there are about 130 active members, with about 500 members who like to stay informed as to what is going on in the group and in the neighborhood. He said between 30 and 40 members attend each meeting, and the group also has an advisory board for individuals who are interested in doing more for their neighborhood. The goal of the association is to make a positive impact on the West End part of town, to change it for the better for those who live there, work there and enjoy spending time in the area. Since 2011, the association has held its annual summer festival to bring more people to the area, has held neighborhood cleanups, and most recently has presented several suggestions its members have to make positive and long lasting changes to the neighborhood. Mayor Ken Cockayne has also been active in his attack on blight, which has included properties in the West End neighborhood.
“All of the city departments and officials have been extremely receptive to our goals and suggestions,” Hamelin said, adding he and the association are happy to see how supportive the city government is of them. “These guys really want to make the city better.”
The association meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Riverview Apartments, 171 Laurel St., Bristol.
The following restaurants are participating in the 2014 Taste of Bristol, as of last Thursday: 457 Mason Jar (formerly Mikes Tortoise and Hare), Amano’s Pizza, Applewood Restaurant, Artist Tree Tea House, Augie’s Café, Barley Vine, Café Buono, Center Restaurant & Pizza, China Chef, Chunky Tomato, City Sports Grill, Cupcakes Galore, D’Angelos, Dos Amigos, Downtown Café, Franks Restaurant, Fuji Japanese Steak House, Gino’s Pizza, Greer’s Chicken, Grinders Keepers, Hometown Pizza of Bristol, Jimmy’s On The River, Latino Restaurant, LJ’s Pizza, Martino’s Market (dinner only), Max Pizza, Milestone Restaurant, Monterrey Mexican Restaurant, Parkside Café, People’s Choice Pizza, Pizza House, Sabino’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge, San Gennaro Napolitano Pizza, Spiga D’Oro, and Super Natural Market and Deli.
For more information, or an updated list as it gets closer to the event in March, visit the association’s website at www.westendbristol.org.
Comments? Email knaples@BristolObserver. com.
By KAITLYN NAPLES