It's time again when Catonsville residents will have an opportunity to sample a variety of local cuisine all in one place.
The Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce will host its 17th annual Taste of Catonsville Monday, June 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Rolling Road Golf Club.
Attendees can expect a slightly different affair as this year's theme, "A Taste Beyond Your Taste Buds," brings together local restaurants with vendors from chamber events such as the farmers market, the annual arts and crafts festival and the flower fest.
"We really wanted to change it up this year," said Teal Cary, the chamber's executive director.
"Our idea was to highlight our big events," Cary said. "It's kind of a mix this year. It's a little different."
This year's event will also feature cooking demonstrations from a number of different organizations, including one by Rolling Road Golf Club's new head chef, Ronnie Ching.
"We thought it would make it a little more personal, to interact with the restaurant chefs," Cary said of the demonstrations.
There will also be live music by Bob Margolis and his band inside and Fiddlin' Around outside on the patio.
Guests can enjoy food samples from restaurants ranging from classic American cuisine from Applebee's to Cafe Di Roma's Italian food.
The Breadery will host a wine tasting and Oakdale Fine Wine and Spirits will have a beer tasting where guests can use one or all of their eight drink tasting tickets.
Cary said the event is not only fun for the public but great for participating businesses.
"It's a way for them to really showcase," Cary said. "We like them to bring menus. We like them to bring coupons.
"It's really just to highlight our restaurants, to highlight the different events that the chamber holds over the year," she said. "It really highlights the tourism for this area."
Tom Wethern is general manager of Dimitri's International Grille, which has participated in every Taste event.
Wethern said the Frederick Road restaurant will serve Greek salad, spinach pie and Greek mezze dips such as hummus and Tajiki at its table this year.
He said that, even though the restaurants don't take home any of the profits from the event, it's a great way to boost sales and the chamber.
"I don't know if it's a great business move. That's not really why we do it," Wethern said. "It does get out the word. It keeps you top of mind and gets out the word of Dimitri's.
"It's money to help the community, because this is a very big fundraiser for the chamber who, they're always short in their funds every year and they do more for Catonsville than anybody, really," he said.
"It is really a benefit for the chamber, which in turn is a benefit for the town of Catonsville, in my opinion," Wethern said.
Rehan Khan, the owner of Umami Global Bistro on Frederick Road will bring his international cuisine to the taste for the first time this year. He opened his restaurant in late January
Umami's menu features a variety of dishes from baba ganoush, an Arabic mashed eggplant dish, to falafel, an aromatic dish of deep-fried chickpeas and/or fava beans to cheeseburgers.
He said he hopes the event will give his business a boost, as sales have been slower than expected during the restaurant's first months of operation.
"It's steady but it's slow," Khan said about business. "It's not that great of what I was hoping for. Every business takes a bit of time to establish their system."
"It's a great opportunity to promote the business and get the word out about our products," he said.
"I'm hoping that it should bring more people drawn into Catonsville and my restaurant," Khan said.
Residents can purchase tickets to the event for $35 in advance on the chamber's website at http://www.catonsville.org or $45 at the door.