Food — Taste of Manchester Event

Manchester holds it’s very first Taste of Downtown

By Emily Zimmerman []

The first Taste of Manchester event has taken on a life of its own. The downtown retail and restaurant tour, organized by Intown Manchester, set for Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., has taken on new form as merchants add to the event’s flavor.

“A lot of retail owners and restaurants have come up with ideas of their own,” said Kate Benway, Intown Manchester marketing and communications director. “These guys really made it their own event. The event showcases what Manchester has to offer.”

The event takes visitors to 15 retail locations to sample food from 15 of Manchester’s premier downtown restaurants. The entire event will span just a few downtown blocks extending from the corners of Merrimack and Elm streets.

Gala Café will serve from Splash!; Richard’s Bistro from Desjardins Diamond Merchant; Purebred Hotdog from Runner’s Alley; Baldwin’s on Elm from Fran Cook Goldsmith; Piccola Italia from the Hatfield Gallery; The Tenderloin Room from With Heart and Hand Unique Gifts; Don Quijote 2 from The New England Sampler; Suddenly Susan’s Gourmet Deli from Alluring Creations Florist; Margaritas from The Chair Gallery; Cotton and Starfish Grill from George’s Apparel; Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse from Ocean National Bank; Julian’s Pizzeria from Intown Manchester; Milly’s Tavern from Croteau Photography; Milton’s Millyard Grill from Grolen Communications; and a sushi demonstration at Thousand Crane.

Not only can visitors sample Manchester’s finest cuisine during A Taste of Manchester but they can also listen to music, see a painter in action and participate in a silent auction. Splash! on Elm Street is hosting a silent auction Wednesday night with gift certificates from downtown merchants, George’s Clothing Mart ties, lunch with the mayor, bath items and more.

Splash! will also feature a musician playing in the store while the Hatfield Gallery on Elm Street will have someone painting during the event. George’s Clothing Mart is planning to hold a three-hour sale. Margaritas may be handing out sombreros at The Chair Gallery. Milly’s Tavern will offer homemade chili and homemade root beer from Croteau Photography. Piccola Italia will offer several types of raviolis and canolis. No alcohol will be served at the event.

“My plan is to just have fun,” said Susan Orfanedes, owner of Suddenly Susan’s. “It will give people an opportunity to try some of our signature sandwiches they might not have otherwise tasted. This type of event is good for businesses in the downtown area. It’s cross marketing and I think it’s a wonderful idea.”

Suddenly Susan’s will serve an assortment of sandwiches and cookies at Alluring Creations Florist across the street.

“We are really psyched,” said Sarah Quiroga, co-owner of The Chair Gallery. “We need to promote downtown as a destination. We need to get people down here. Downtown Manchester had a stigma and we are breaking that.”

Three bands will play at three different stages along Elm and Hanover streets to entertain visitors as they travel from store to store on the tour.

“The energy of the downtown and its merchants is what gave birth to the event,” Benway said. “We’ve got some jewelry stores and gift shops. People don’t know they can come down here to get a painting framed, to buy an engagement ring or get a bath set. A Taste of Manchester is a way of bringing people down to the restaurants and we want them to know what we have here in terms of shopping.”

Benway hopes the event introduces citizens in the Manchester area to the benefits of downtown businesses and recognize the downtown as a shopping destination. She envisions A Taste of Manchester growing into a “staple of Manchester.”

The event was modeled after A Taste of Nashua, which has entered its tenth year.

All the proceeds from A Taste of Manchester will fund downtown beautification projects such as the planting of trees and bushes. Tickets cost $15 and are available at Intown Manchester at 889 Elm Street or through Ocean National Bank at 900 Elm Street and 779 South Main Street, as well as select downtown restaurants. The event is sponsored by Ocean National Bank, WGIR 610 AM and Coca-Cola. Call Intown Manchester for more information at 645-6285.

For a chance to win free tickets to the Taste of Manchester give blood at the American Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday, Sept. 2, from noon to 7 p.m. at 425 Reservoir Avenue in Manchester. The Labor of Love Blood Drive will conduct three prize drawings for a pair of tickets. For more information on this event call 1-800-give-life.

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