It’s not every day business owners get cozy with the competition. However, this Sunday at the O’Connell Center, more than 40 of Gainesville’s staple restaurants are coming together for a larger purpose.
Charity organization Taste of Greater Gainesville is the reason behind this friendly gathering of Gainesville's favorite eats.
Since 2009, the organization has hosted a fundraiser, also of the same name, to raise money and awareness for children’s charities. Local vendors like Vale Food Co., Swamp Head Brewery, Metro Diner and Dragonfly Sushi serve signature food and drinks to the event’s attendees.
DJ Hood, managing partner at Metro Diner, believes supporting causes that the community cares about is a win-win for everybody.
“I like to get involved with things that are important to my guests,” Hood said. “Wherever we can help out and do things, I think that’s a plus.”
Tasting mouth-watering food and drinking cold ones isn’t the only thing you should expect at the Taster of Greater Gainesville. The event also includes a silent auction and an iron chef competition.
Local chefs will go head-to-head and cook their best dishes, which will be scored by celebrity judges. Angie Shaghaghi,who appeared on Food Network's “Chopped,” will be there to judge.
For the past eight years, the organization has donated more than $500,000 to charities, according to the Taste of Greater Gainesville’s website.
This year, the money raised will benefit Child Advocacy Center of Gainesville, Tyler's Hope for a Dystonia Cure, PACE Center for Girls Alachua and Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida.
Regular admission tickets cost $125, and VIP tickets, which let you skip lines to sample foods, cost $175. You can purchase the tickets as well as become a sponsor for the event online.
For those that want to give back and enjoy the event but don’t quite have the funds, you can volunteer at Taste of Greater Gainesville for free admission. For more information, visit Taste of Greater Gainesville’s volunteer sign up online.
Chef Nester Espartero of Volcanic Sushi + Sake celebrates his team's Iron Chef victory at Tastes of Greater Gainesville 2018.