The Taste of Johnson City featured a wide array of menu items and services from local food industry businesses.
You could get your fill of appetizers, entree samples and desserts, and you could also find information about venues for special events.
Around 25 vendors were present at Monday night’s 31st installment of the event, which was held at the Johnson City Country Club. There were plenty of options for food for the about 400 in attendance.
Many of the businesses represented had been coming for years, but some were there for the first time.
One such business, Our House, a restaurant just north of Boones Creek on the Kingsport Highway, was the new kid on the block. Owners Angie and Andy Tolley opened up their dream business just more than a month ago, and were dipping their toes in the event’s social pool for the first time.
“This is a good event to see independent people,” Angie said after being asked why she chose to represent her new restaurant at the event. She said the goal is to introduce people to their style of cooking, and have them become customers who frequent their restaurant on a weekly, rather than yearly, basis.
Tolley’s hopes were accomplished with one attendee.
Chikion Chan said he came to take advantage of an opportunity to taste a bunch of foods. What Our House served him happened to be one of his favorite dishes of the night, and he said the event definitely will be the reason he’s going to go try it out.
The Chamber of Commerce, the event’s primary sponsor, also had hopes that businesses would get to strut their stuff to potential customers.
“This is a crowd that enjoys food, drink and ambiance,” Chamber Director of Operations Barbara Mentgen said. “I’ve heard people say they come here because they get to see people they haven’t seen since the Taste of Johnson City last year. It’s like a tasting reunion.”
Vendors were located inside and outside the country club. Some were up on the patio, and some were next to the pool where a band was playing. The soundtrack to the occasion was provided by a local Johnson City band called 40W, who said they specialize in old country classics and contemporary country music.
While it gave a perfect chance for attendees to sample fine cuisine, some used the event as a business engagement.
Ethan Parsons, a local financial advisor, said his company bought tickets to earn themselves face time with clients, and a chance to network with others.
Other represented businesses, like The Charles, a downtown Johnson City venue for special events, and Chocolate Elegance LLC, said their goal was to let the customers feel their presence, especially moving forward to the holiday season.
Heather Ricker, executive chef at Wellington’s at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, was excited to show off the menu she came up with, which included regionally inspired choices like Cheerwine cream floats and deviled eggs topped with candied bacon and icebox pickles, but was equally excited to taste other items herself.
“I had the green curry from Rainbow Asian, and I accomplished all I needed to tonight,” Ricker said.