March 15, 2002

'Taste at Your Place' Raises Money for Charity

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People who ate at various local restaurants left yesterday not only with a full stomach, but with the satisfaction that a portion of their money will help local charities fight hunger and poverty.

Thirty-six Ithaca area restaurants, including John Thomas Steakhouse, The Heights Cafe and Grill, Maxie’s Supper Club, Simeon’s On The Commons, Moosewood Restaurant, Wegman’s and Rulloff’s, participated in the first “Taste at your Place” event. The event allowed local restaurants and wineries to donate a portion of their earnings from yesterday to anti-poverty and anti-hunger organizations in Tompkins County.

The “Taste of the Nation” Committee, which coordinates the yearly “Taste of the Nation” event in April, decided to hold “Taste at your Place” so that restaurateurs could raise money for charity in their own establishments.

“This year the Taste Committee wanted a new community event that gives restaurateurs the chance to showcase their specialties with their full staff and serving capabilities,” said Jerry Dietz, co-organizer of “Taste at your Place” and “Taste of the Nation.”

The annual “Taste of the Nation” event invites area restaurateurs to showcase their culinary specialties in one location. This year’s event will take place on April 22 in Emerson Suites at Ithaca College.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds from “Taste at your Place” and “Taste of the Nation” will support anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations, including Loaves and Fishes of Tompkins County, the Learning Web, the Green Street House, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, and Foodnet.

The Taste Committee was pleased with the restaurateurs’ response to the “Taste at your Place” campaign, Dietz said.

“Local restaurateurs have been overwhelmingly supportive of this effort and are graciously donating their time, food, and service to help raise money for the ‘Taste of the Nation’ fund,” he said.

Several area restaurateurs said that they decided to participate in the event to give back to the community.

“It helps the community directly, which obviously is important,” said Heidi Larounis, co-owner of The Heights Cafe and Grill.

“It’s about giving back to the community, and it’s about food, which is what we’re about,” said Neil Minnis, co-owner of Moosewood Restaurant.

Some restaurateurs decided to participate in “Taste at your Place” because of their longstanding participation in the “Taste of the Nation” event.

“It’s a good thing to do,” said Sam Schuepbach, owner of Aladdin’s Natural Eatery, which has participated in the traditional “Taste of the Nation” event for ten years. “We’re a major restaurant in town, so I wanted to be part of [event].”

Diners at participating restaurants said they were pleased that their money would support charities.

“I’m glad my money is going towards such a good cause,” said Aladdin’s Natural Eatery diner Anita Nathan ’03. “It makes me really happy.

When informed of the “Taste at your Place” event, Collegetown Bagels patron Joe LaMonte ’02 said, “I think I’ll buy another bagel now.”

Archived article by Stephanie Hankin