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Jul. 22, 2019
5:55 am


LLRC brings back Taste of Gainesville

By Jane Harrison
Taste buds rejoice! The Taste of Gainesville is back this year, promising gustatory delights under an autumn sky on Lake Lanier. After taking a break last year, the Lake Lanier Rowing Club will be spreading the table cloths Sept. 22 for dinner on the plaza at Lake Lanier Olympic Park.
Organizer Sharon Heard expects between 20-25 local restaurants will serve up specialties at one of the season’s most popular lake events. Corks will pop and beer taps flow as four area wine suppliers and one local taproom set up to pour.
“We’ve gotten a great response from vendors,” Heard said last month. The club’s marketing team pitched the event to restaurateurs as a taste test for new recipes and a way to create food memories to lure new diners. “It’s a big marketing opportunity for them,” Heard said.
The food truck craze, which rolls into the venue each month, has put more restaurateurs on the road, she added. More area restaurants have gone mobile, making it easier to do food prep outside a traditional kitchen.
Participating restaurants signed up by mid-August promise palate-exciting variety, with entrees of barbecue, seafood, chicken, and burgers finished off with fudge, ice-cream, and other sweets. Lula restaurant At The Tracks, Dahlonega’s Fudge Factory, Hometown Grill from Flowery Branch, and Gainesville’s Bunch’s Burgers and Breakfasts are among the newcomers joining regulars like Gainesville Seafood Market, Johnny’s Barbecue, and O’Charley’s.
Vintners from CeNita Vineyards in Cleveland, Kaya in Dahlonega, Sweet Acre Farms in Lula and Gainesville wine shop Wine and Cheese will offer reds and whites for toasting. Tap masters from Tap It will open the spigots.
April Rooks and the Love Nation Band will serenade diners with “current dance hits and timeless classics, groovy disco and funk blends, and soulful ballads,” according to their website.
Many Lakeside diners went hungry for their favorite al fresco dining event last year after LLRC decided to cancel the event. A changing of the guard brought in new officers just before September and they weren’t ready to pull it together. Heard said the extra time this year helped them set the table right for the 18th edition.
“Last year we lacked the manpower to pull off the event and wanted to maintain the same high quality as in years past. The community has responded enthusiastically … A wonderful mix of unique food items is planned for a beautiful night under the stars,” she said.
She added the event gives participants and attendees the chance to “utilize the beautiful facility” at LLOP. It fosters a closer connection between the community and the park that began as the flatwater paddling and rowing venue for the 1996 Olympics.
“This event not only supports the sport of rowing in our community but also showcases the world-class venue,” Heard said. LLRC juniors traditionally help out at the dinner and may get out on the Olympic channel to show off their sport.
She added that the first of fall “is a good time of year to be outside” enjoying an evening of food, music, and camaraderie.
A Taste of Gainesville
  • When: 6-9 p.m. Sept. 22
  • Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Park Plaza, 3105 Clarks Bridge Rd., Gainesville
  • Tickets: $30 per person in advance through $35 at the door
  • Wine enthusiasts: $25 in advance for 10-1oz samples, including a souvenir glass; $30 at the gate. Souvenir glass only, $5. Not sure yet? $12.50 for 5-1oz samples, at the gate.
  • Questions:
Posted online 8/31/18
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