Volume 23, Number 8 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 2 - 8, 2010
Photo courtesy of Learan Kahanor
Large crowds filled Front Street last Saturday to taste food and support the Spruce Street School.
Inaugural event raises big bucks for small school
BY Helaina N. Hovitz
The temperatures on Saturday did not deter the forty Taste of Front Street volunteers. And their commitment paid off: they helped raise $7,500 for the Spruce Street School Parent Teacher Association.
The Cowgirl Seahorse, a Tex-Mex style eatery with a beach-shack feel, offers up a menu of everything from tacos to steak, but chose to give customers a tiny slice of the sea on that ninety-degree day; all 350 of their best-selling fish tacos were gobbled up by sun-scorched patrons by the event’s close at 3 p.m. Co-owner Shelly Delemarter is happy that the recipe is safe in the wake of the oil spill, since the tacos are made with tilapia, a farm-raised fish. “I’m glad we can continue to keep the quality without worrying about the price rocketing for our customers,” she said.
Another fan favorite appeared to be Table Tales’ buttermilk chicken sandwich, which sold out within the first hour. Luckily, Grace Clerihew, the restaurants proprietor, was more than happy, and prepared, to make more.
“Everyone has been so supportive of the school,” she said. “I’m having such a good time. We’re all happy to be here.”
Wine bar Bin 220 offered up their best red and whites, which people “tasted” as early as 11 a.m. “We offer a nice reprieve because we let them go dine inside, where we have [air conditioning],” said Sandy Tedesco, co-owner of the wine bar. “They’ve come out to support us, so we’re happy to help make them comfortable.”
Nobody knew whether or not Children’s Day, simultaneously taking place at the South Street Seaport, sent more foot traffic over to Front Street, but several families from other parts of New York and New Jersey said they’d soon return to the block for dinner.
“There’s a good mix of different food and people here today. Its not all the same old same old, that’s for sure,” said Andrew Shenger, who hailed from Hoboken.
People were a bit startled by the spectacle created by Jeremy of Jeremy’s Ale House, who shouted and laughed boisterously in an effort to draw a crowd. Jeremy’s has been on the block for 37 years, and Jeremy himself is happy to see how much the block has expanded. “I love the other restaurants here,” he said. “We’re all close friends.”
Cory Sharples, a P.S. 150 parent, Front Street resident and volunteer for Made Fresh Daily, said she saw a lot of families from other schools come by to support Spruce Street School. Several people also commented that the portions were larger than those offered at the Taste of Tribeca.
The Quad, a newly opened recreational center that offers programs for children who are “twice-exceptional,” hosted an arts-and-crafts table for the kids. Director Kim Busi, longtime Downtown resident and co-president of the Spruce Street School P.T.A., said she was proud to be part of the event as both a parent and a sponsor.
“The event so beautifully embodies the mission of Spruce Street,” said Busi.
In addition to raising money for the school, the participating restaurants were excited just to get the exposure.
“As a restaurant off the beaten path, this event gave us all the opportunity to show people that we’re here,” said Maura Kilgore, co-owner of the Cowgirl Seahorse. “Customers who haven’t been here in years are always pleasantly surprised to find just how much we’ve grown. We’re like a small town neighborhood that still feels very New York.”
“The turnout was beautiful,” said Claudio Marini of Barbarini. “It should be like this every weekend.”
The event sold 250 tickets, and the rest of the money was donated by participating restaurant proprietors.
“This was extremely well received, though we would have liked to see more people,” said Learan Kahanov, lead parent organizer of the event. “As a pilot event, we will use this as a learning experience for the larger Taste of The Seaport that will take place in the fall.”
“They certainly set the stage for the next, bigger event next year,” said Kilgore. “They really pulled it off.”