07/27/08 — Restaurants ready to compete for honors at Taste of Wayne

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Restaurants ready to compete for honors at Taste of Wayne

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on July 27, 2008 10:34 AM


Assistant News Editor

From pizza to Asian cuisine to good ol' eastern North Carolina barbecue, there should be something for just about everyone at the Taste of Wayne County this year as local restaurants are beginning to line up to offer the best of their menus.

Scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on the commons of Wayne Community College, the Taste of Wayne County is not only the kickoff of the United Way of Wayne County's annual fundraising campaign, it's also a chance for local eateries and beverage companies to showcase themselves.

For some, it's an event they have participated in for most of the Taste's 18 years, with many, like the Lane Tree Golf Course Grill, bringing back old favorites.

Grill Manager Vivian Langston said the grill will once again have its famous chicken salad available, as well as its special baked spaghetti.

"That (chicken salad) is one of our signature items -- part of a cold plate everybody likes to order," she said. "The baked spaghetti, we serve on Thursdays, and everybody seems to like that, too."

For others, like Sam Denpatrapreecha of Royal Bangkok Thai Cuisine on Wayne Memorial Drive, it's a chance to hopefully draw out some new customers.

Having recently opened his second restaurant -- his first was in California -- he and his wife are hoping to use this opportunity to introduce themselves to more of the community.

"(Thai food) is her specialty," he said about his wife. "We're just trying to bring our food to people and if they taste it and like it, then maybe they'll come here."

Steve's Pizza also is hoping to re-introduce itself, despite having been a participant for more than a dozen years.

"We're under new ownership and we want to make everybody aware that we're doing the same things, just with better service," store manager Patricia Ferrell said.

Among the pizzeria's offerings will be several different kinds of pizza, as well as well as pasta and subs.

"It's not necessarily new, but it's definitely improved," she said.

Other new faces this year will include P&T Down Home Cooking, with barbecue turkey, and Grady's BBQ, with barbecue pork and turkey.

"We really are looking forward to it," said Gerrie Grady. "It's a chance to give thanks to the community, to show our appreciation to our surrounding community."

But the Taste will offer more than just a smorgasbord of entrees.

There also will be shops like Krispy Kreme and JJ Ashley Bakery & Gourmet Foods -- the winner of several awards last year, including best desserts and best breads and pastries.

This year, JJ Ashley is hoping to have more competition.

"One of the benefits of having more local bakers in the competition is we get to measure ourselves against other local competitors," said co-owner Alonzo Beale. "Nothing could be more encouraging than to repeat what we did in 2007."

But it won't be easy with 2006 pastry winner and doughnut giant Krispy Kreme back in the mix.

"We're very glad to be a part of the Taste of Wayne again," said Tracy Cole, manager of the Ash Street shop. "It gives us a chance to let people in the county sample what we have to offer and get out and meet people ... hopefully, this year we'll bring home the silver plate for best pastry."