Business & Finance

Annual Taste of Madison Event Raises Funds for Local Civic Organizations

Ellsworth Havens (left) and Mike Rabasca are members of the Madison Rotary. Credits: Guy Kass
Lawrence Rosenberg, executive chef of Bacon Bites, hands out samples of chocolate-covered bacon. Credits: Guy Kass
Madison Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto helps out at the event. Credits: Guy Kass
Whole Foods handed out samples and coupons. Credits: Guy Kass
Gary's Wine & Marketplace, the event's primary sponsor, handed out samples of wine and beer. Credits: Guy Kass
Maureen Byrne, one of the event co-chairs, and her husband, Tom. Credits: Guy Kass
Crowley's Cupcakes handed out sweet samples. Credits: Guy Kass
Gino Iossa, owner of Rocco's Tuscany Bar and Grill, fries up zeppoles. Credits: Guy Kass
Gino and Rocco Iossa Credits: Guy Kass
Madison Chamber of Commerce President John Morris visits with guests. Credits: Guy Kass
Madison residents John and Susan Barba chat with friends. Credits: Guy Kass
Jen Dicamino, Dr. Allison Adams, Lily Baires, Andrea Ceresa, Jackie Moy and Kelly Olsen of Adams Dental. Credits: Guy Kass
The 11th annual event showcased food from 24 Madison restaurants, as well as wine and beer from three local wineries: Gary's Wine and Marketplace, Wine Rx and the Madison Wine Cellar. Credits: Guy Kass
Poor Herbie's served up samples. Credits: Guy Kass
Empire Szechuan handed out samples of Asian cuisine. Credits: Guy Kass
Gary Fisch, owner of Gary's Wine & Marketplace, talks with guests at the event. Credits: Christy Kass

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Community spirit and civic pride mingled in the air with the tantalizing offerings of some of Madison’s best restaurants at the 11th annual Taste of Madison Monday night at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park.

“We probably have a bigger turnout here tonight than we’ve ever had,” said Maureen Byrne, co-chair of the Madison Downtown Development Commission. “It’s always so amazing to see how many people come out to support the town.”

Byrne co-chaired the event with David Morozoff of the Madison Rotary and Danielle Torrani Dixon of the Chamber of Commerce.

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Money raised from the event goes to the Downtown Development Commission, the Madison Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. The primary sponsor of this year’s event was Gary’s Wine & Marketplace.

“It’s a wonderful combination of great food and great wine,” said Gary Fisch, the company’s founder and CEO. “A lot of volunteers spend a tremendous amount of time putting this together, and it’s really a win/win for everyone. You come out and support these important organizations in town, socialize with your neighbors, and enjoy food from the restaurants you love.”

The evening featured 24 Madison restaurants, and attendees received a flyer that listed each of them and included a map of their location in town.

“We like to help out the community,” said Rocco Iossa, founder of Rocco’s Tuscany Bar and Grill, who said his restaurant and family are very community-minded. The restaurant is now run by his son, Gino. “We support the town whenever we can.”

Spread out over two floors of the Park Avenue Club, guests sampled food, wine and beer, and talked with the restaurant owners and each other.

“This is the best event in town in terms of showcasing the local restaurants,” said Barry Kroll, board member of the Madison Rotary. “The money goes to a good cause and people get to come out and have a good time.”

The appreciation for all that the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Commission and Rotary do for the town was a common topic of conversation throughout the evening.

“It’s just a wonderful community event,” said Susan Barba, a Madison resident who attended the festivities with her husband, John.  “It’s a nice way to give back a little.”

Madison Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto, who was volunteering at the event, said it’s gratifying to her, as a leader in the borough, to see how many people come out to support the civic organizations that do so much to take care of the residents and businesses.

“The organizations that benefit from tonight’s event really do so much for Madison,” Byrne added. “It’s a pleasure to be able to support them.”

The restaurants that participated in the event were Atlanta Bread Company; Chef Loryn's Cafe and Catering; Crowley Cupcakes; Drip, A Coffee Shop; Fratelli's; Mama C's Subs; Nautilus Diner; On A Roll; Gary's Wine & Marketplace; Stop and Shop; Whole Foods Market; 54 Main Bar and Grille; Park Avenue Club; Poor Herbie's; Prospect Tavern; Rob's Bistro; G.K's Red Dog Tavern; Rods Steak and Seafood Grille; Resto; David's Rumba Cafe; Begum Palace Indian Restaurant; Empire Szechuan; Amici's Ristorante; Garlic Rose Bistro; Il Mondo Vecchio; L'Allegria Restaurant; Rocco's Tuscany Bar and Grill; Romanelli's Italian Eatery. Wine was provided by Gary's Wine and Marketplace; Madison Wine Cellar and Wine Rx.

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