10/14/11 — Many drawn to taste United Way's kickoff event

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Many drawn to taste United Way's kickoff event

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 14, 2011 1:46 PM

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Jasmine Valentine, 5, looks up from her chicken wing when offered a handful of Mt. Olive pickles Thursday evening during the Taste of Wayne County.

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Carl Lewis of Carl & 'Chelle's Grill Room grills ribeyes at his booth during the Taste of Wayne. Carl & 'Chelle's Grill Room won the People's Choice Award.

Jasmine Valentine already had her hands full when a woman extended a pile of pickle chips her way.

But the 5-year-old was not about to turn down a Wayne County favorite -- even if her fingers were covered in much of the sauce that had been coating her chicken wing until just before she started eating it.

So the little girl held out the top of her hand and waited until her next course was resting safely on it before moving on.

And as she continued her walk across the Wayne Community College grounds, she went back and forth from pickle to wing until each of the snacks was gone.

The 2011 edition of the United Way's Taste of Wayne County drew hundreds of local residents looking to sample dishes from dozens of restaurants that make their home in Goldsboro and the communities that surround it.

And with categories from "Pub Grub" to "Breakfast, Breads and Pastries," the evening was, in many ways, defined by interesting flavor combinations.

Some went from a piece of ribeye steak to a plate of chips and salsa.

Others followed up a Brown Bag Cafe pork taco with a handful of candied nuts.

But 2-year-old Andrew Elam was more interested in the miniature doughnuts Krispy Kreme was serving up.

And after sampling a Grady's barbecue sandwich, Goldsboro Mayor Al King went back for another.

But the mayor's favorite was not the most popular booth Thursday.

Those honors -- and the long line that, for the majority of the three-hour event, came with it -- belonged to Taste newcomer Carl and 'Chelle's Grill Room.

"We're doing fantastic," said Thomas Brown, the general manager of the restaurant that has only been operating since Sept. 11. "I thought it was pretty nice to see a line. It's a good feeling to have people waiting to eat your food."

And that food -- ribeye steak, potatoes and onions -- was greeted with rave reviews.

From across the grounds, Jennifer Walker pointed back to the booth and told her friend, Melissa French, "we've gotta go there."

"Go try it and you'll see," Mrs. Walker said. "The steak melts in your mouth."

And she was clearly not the only one impressed by their offering.

Carl and 'Chelle's walked away with the People's Choice Award.

"We've been fortunate so far," Brown said of how the public has responded to the restaurant since it opened. "We keep it simple."