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Taste-buds tingled by foodies near and far at Taste of North Texas

Taste-buds tingled by foodies near and far at Taste of North Texas

Taste-buds tingled by foodies near and far at Taste of North Texas
April 07
02:45 2016

Victoria Monteros | Staff Writer


Nothing Bundt Cakes owner Jim Shehan doesn’t waste any time in describing his goal in reaching out to the people of Denton.

“[The goal is] to get as much cake as I can in everybody’s mouth,” he said.

Taste of North Texas provided that opportunity for a plethora of local businesses to market themselves and provide samples, as well as raise money for the community. The 27th annual Taste of North Texas was held in the UNT Super Pitt on March 31, with around 32 vendors participating in the event.

Originally a fundraiser for UNT’s athletic department, it evolved into an event for the Kiwanis Club and proceeds from tickets benefitted the Denton Kiwanis Children’s Clinic.

“It’s a local event that everybody gets involved in to support the community,” Beth Marie’s area supervisor Margaret Rich said. “It’s about the children’s clinic and we’re all about supporting the children’s clinic.”

The Denton Kiwanis Children’s Clinic provides little to no cost medical, prescription and dental assistance to children in need in the Denton area. Taste of North Texas seeks out the best businesses and invites them to the event.

From small, local favorites to larger chains that run throughout DF-W, all kinds of restaurants, bakeries and bars throughout the country came and showcased their best items. Sprouts Farmer’s Market, which will soon be opening their first location in Denton, made its mark as a newcomer to the festival.

“We’re really excited just to be in Denton,” Sprouts regional marketing specialist Caty Strawther said. “We’re slowly starting to kind of get involved in community events because Sprouts is really rooted in that.”

Also present at the event were El Guapo, Paschall Bar, Palio’s Pizza, Zera’s Coffee, Audacity Brewhouse and many more.

Since it started, Taste of North Texas has grown larger each year it’s been held, with different vendors dishing out complimentary items that visitors can sample. The Candy Store showed up for a 19th time, making them the business with the most appearances at the event.

“It’s grown really since the first year we did it, until a couple years when it slowed down a little bit, and I have no idea whether that was economy or what it was,” The Candy Store owner Robb Bertlesen said. “But last year it rebounded a little, this year it’s back to where it used to be. It’s big. It’s good.”

The Candy Store brings a huge assortment of items from their store every year, like chocolates and coffee it takes pride in. The fact that it continues to roast coffee beans in this technique that has become more uncommon, and Bertlesen has attributed much of the growth of clientele to Taste of North Texas since it gives it the opportunity to spread the word about the business and what it’s all about.

“We don’t scale down or do sample stuff,” Bertlesen said. “We bring the stuff directly from our store. We brew coffee here directly on site rather than make it ahead of time and bring it.”

Although Taste of North Texas had a lot to offer for those who had more of a sweet tooth, it had plenty to offer to those who cared to indulge in more savory treats. Businesses like Mom’s Place brought Southern comfort food to the table, bringing macaroni and cheese with bacon.

“We have recognition. People know us by the name and we see our customers here all the time,” Mom’s place owner Steve Smith said. “We just bring comfort food so as long as it gives comfort to people that’s what we’re happy with.”

While Mom’s Place provided a touch of the South, El Guapo’s Tex Mex Restaurant offered a flare from south of the border, and served chips and queso, “Mexican voodoo shrimp,” chicken empanadas, fajitas and other Tex-Mex inspired items. El Guapo’s owner Michael Zambino’s expectations for the event were summed up in one word.

“Pain,” Zambino said, quoting Mr. T from the famous film Rocky Balboa. “Expectations are to run out of food…. We’re usually the last ones standing so we keep having food brought out until the very last minute.”

The main goal is to promote businesses and attract new customers. But some businesses, like food distributor Ben Keith, just like the fact that they can participate in a local event and work toward a good cause.

“For us, it’s a little bit unique because we’re not really promoting our business because the attendees here aren’t buying from us. The people who are buying from us are the vendors here,” said Ben Keith chef Patrick Mitchell. “But we do want to give back to the community so whether we’re promoting our business or not, it’s great to give back.”

Ben Keith is based out of Fort Worth and operates in 11 different states. It has been established since 1906, and takes pride in giving back.

“We’re just committed to doing this,” Mitchell said. “Even if we don’t get any new business out of it, it’s a good cause.”

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