This weekend: Taste of Marco showcases local chefs’ best


You can snack delicately on assorted chef’s samples, or you can really make a sumptuous, multiple course feast of it.

Either way, you’ll be going gourmet at the 27th Annual Taste of Marco celebration this Sunday, April 23, when a collection of local restaurants conjure up samples of their best menu offerings.

The Taste of Marco is informal and plenty of fun.

Venue is the Esplanade, and the 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. timeframe means you can brunch, do lunch or even make it an early bird dinner outing.

Traditionally, the Taste of Marco is a jovial, garrulous get-together, made even more so by the addition of live music, children’s activities and the opportunity to win some shekels courtesy of a 50-50 raffle.

And, apart from showcasing their tasty concoctions, it’s a bit of a bonding exercise for restaurateurs.

“This is a great opportunity to spend time with other restaurants, because we’ve all been so busy during the season,” CJ’s on the Bay GM Laura Owen said. “We all support each other, and the restaurant community is amazing. There’s no cutthroat (aspect).”

CJ’s, she said, will feature the “ever popular” blue cheese potato chips – homemade chips with a blue cheese sauce and topped with cheese crumbles. They’ll also serve an Italian wrap, a ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese combo with peppers and a red wine vinaigrette.

“We’re also excited because one of our employees, Marc Kircher, will entertain for the first hour,” Owen said.

Main slot goes to the Greg Miller Band, which has consistently rocked the Taste of Marco for the past few years.

Wild Jimmy’s, along with Pinchers Crab Shack, make debuts this year, with Chicago beef and sausage sandwiches as well as meatball sliders from Jimmy’s, and cheesy blue crab nachos, mini crab cakes and (if available) stone crab claws from Pinchers.

Food portions are a bit bigger than bite sized, and the idea is to sample much of what’s on offer.

The Speakeasy has lined up teriyaki meatballs, sweet chili boneless wings and corned beef sliders, while Mango’s Dockside Bistro is doing sushi, fish tacos and a “special surprise for kids,” according to management.

Stilts Bar & Grill will tempt with Peruvian ceviche and traditional paella made on the spot by Chef Felix, with Sami’s Pizza & Grill preparing pizza, gyros and likely special tacos as well.

Cold Stone Creamery has kids in mind, and will feature Chocolate Devotion, Oreo overload and Founder’s Favorite ice-cream combos.

The Deck at 560 (Hilton resort) should see lines for its watermelon gazpacho shooters with lime crema, not to mention its key lime tarts. And Kretch’s is pulling out all the culinary stops with mini seafood strudels as well as smoked turkey wings.

And Michelbob’s Championship Ribs? Well, expect simply, their best.

Tickets for the food run at $1 each, and portions usually range between 2 and 4 to 5 tickets. Beneficiary is the Greater Marco Family YMCA, which uses its half of the takings for its array of outreach programs.

For more information on the Y and its youth and adult programs and activities, call 394-3144 or visit