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.
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.