By Anastasia Millicker
20 restaurants and other shops to offer food, drink and fun June 23
HIGHLANDS – The first Taste of Highlands tour will be launched Saturday, June 23, and will offer area residents the opportunity to sample local fare from 20 borough establishments.
Twenty restaurants, 16 of which will serve cocktails, will open their doors from noon to 6 p.m. for food tastings during the tour, sponsored by the Highlands Business Partnership and the Sandy Hook Policeman’s Benevolent Association Local 48.
The Highlands Business Partnership “attempted to put this together back in 2004,” said Carla Cefalo-Braswell, president of the Highlands Business Partnership. “We were all at a meeting at Off The Hook and were planning it for right around the Mardi Gras season in February so it was off-season and we couldn’t get enough participation.”
Recently neighboring communities started holding “taste tours” of restaurants and the idea for a Highlands tour was reignited, Cefalo-Braswell said. The partnership started planning the 2012 Taste of Highlands tour last year.
The June 23 event will have two party limousine buses that will bring people from location to location, Cefalo-Braswell said. Unlike the open-air trolley, the buses will have air conditioning to accommodate “tourists” from each location.
People will check in on the day of the event at either Veterans’ Park at Bay and Shrewsbury avenues or Huddy Park at Bay and Waterwitch avenues.
Registered participants will receive a map, a drawstring backpack and coupons from restaurants and other shops they may visit around Highlands. They will also receive a lanyard and bracelet.
Visitors who get their maps stamped at each of the 20 participating restaurants can drop the maps in a collection bin on the bus before 6 p.m. The stamped maps will be used as their entries in a raffle for a $200 Biz Buck that will be valid at any of the businesses participating in the Taste of Highlands.
As of June 18, the Highlands Business Partnership, the Sandy Hook PBA Local 48 and
participating establishments had sold about 350 tickets.
The money collected from tickets sales will go toward the Highlands visual improvement fund and holiday decoration expenses including tree lightings.
“We are very excited to be a part of this and the menus look superb,” Cefalo-Braswell said. “In Highlands, we have very different types of cuisine. You have Cuban, Mexican, Italian and a good mix of seafood.”
Bahr’s Landing will offer a Jackson Hole margarita along with seafood fare. Chilango’s will offer guava jalapeno cilantro margaritas, Grimaldi’s will offer wine as well as pasta with Bolognese sauce, and Inlet Café will offer visitors sangria or Coors Light drafts.
Restaurants participating are: Andy’s Shore Bar, Bahr’s Landing, Bay Avenue Bakery & Café, Bay Avenue Trattoria, Chilangos, Chubby Pickle, Claddagh, The Clam Hut, Driftwood Bar and Liquor, Gert’s Snacks and Spices, Grimaldi’s, Francesco’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, Fresh Restaurant & Catering, Havana Tropical Café, Inlet Café, Lusty Lobster, Off The Hook, Original Oyster, Twin Light Taphouse and Windansea.
Jack Daniels, one of the many sponsors of the tour, will offer promotional material at several of the establishments.
Tickets for Saturday’s event can be purchased in advance at any of the participating establishments or by calling 732-291-4713. For additional information visit highlandsnj.com.