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Taste of Bayside welcomes food lovers this week

Tony Portillo (l.) from 3Bros BBQ dishes out a snack to Nina Rosado at last year's event.
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The Taste of Bayside will give patrons the opportunity this Wednesday to sample a smorgasbord of eastern Queens’ flavors in a convenient setting.

More than 25 restaurants have signed up for the epicurean event, which will be held at the Adria Hotel & Conference Center, on Northern Boulevard, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“We ask restaurants to bring their signature dish. People can come and sample restaurants, desserts, bake shops, beer and wine,” said Bayside Business Association President Judy Limpert. “Typically we have between 25 and 30, but we do get more coming on toward the end.”

The annual tasting got its start, she said, after street festivals were banned on Bell Boulevard due to a poor reputation earned by the rowdy and raucous events. Afterward, the BBA was looking for a way to promote the boulevard’s eateries.

“We used to always focus a lot on Bell Boulevard’s restaurant row. There are many fine dining restaurants going back years and years and years. We always thought it would be a focus to showcase them,” Limpert said.

“It expanded from Bell Boulevard to all over Bayside, from Francis Lewis down to the Long Island Expressway to Anthony’s down on Union Turnpike,” she said. “11360, 11361 and 11364 — all the ZIP codes in Bayside.”

The title may be a bit of a misnomer, though, as Douglaston’s Strawberry’s Sports Grill will make its debut at the event this year. Other newcomers such as Valentino’s on the Green, Surfside Beach and Maria’s Trattoria will join stalwarts like Bourbon Street, Papazzio and C.J. Sullivan’s American Grill.

Limpert said the past year has been a down one for area restaurants, as patrons chose to cut back on eating out, saying “2011 was not a good year for quite a few restaurants, I’m hearing.”

She added, “Eating out is one of the luxuries all Americans do, and I think they pulled back a little.”

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door at the Adria, at 220-33 Northern Blvd.

“You can taste anything you want from any restaurant. For $30, it’s amazing what you’re going to get,” Limpert said. “You almost can’t eat all of it!”

For information and tickets, visit tastequeens.com or call 718-261-3517.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 2:33 pm, January 24, 2012
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