EAST HANOVER, NJ - On November 13th, East Hanover residents got to sample some great cuisines from the areas at the Hanover Manor. That evening, a fundraising event, known as The Taste of the Towns, was organized for attendants and various food establishments from in and out of the township.

The event was organized by the East Hanover Cooperative Nursery School, a non-sectarian nursery that has since 1986 provided preschool education, under the leadership by parents of about 22 students (ages 2-4).

“This is our biggest event that encompasses a lot of volunteers hours from our board members and families with our school,” said Christine Barnes, from East Hanover, preschool treasurer for the last five years. “We’re hoping for a successful event at the Manor. It’s all about the kids.”

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And indeed Taste of the Towns was success, with a total of 14 different food vendors from East Hanover and other districts, such as Florham Park, Parsippany, Denville, Succasunna, Englewood, Madison, Randolph, Livingston and Morris Plains.

“We definitely want to get our name out there, while helping out the preschool,” said Tom Sturdevant, Madison resident and owner of Taquero restaurant, based in East Hanover, who served braised short rib tacos, with shrimp and cactus gumbo.

Frank Rinaldi, Morristown resident and owner of causal eatery Dough & Yolk, based in Florham Park, was another participant who was eager to support the preschool and showcase his establishment. For the evening, Rinaldi served his samples of toast with avocado, salmon and French cheese. “Taste of the Towns is very interesting,” said Rinaldi.

“It’s very important to stay close to the community. I just love doing these small town events. It’s all about hospitality and the people you meet.” Other food vendors were set up for Marra’s Uptown Sandwich & Salad House, Anthony & Sons Bakery, Dunkin, Revolution Taco, Don Jose, Cookies by Design, Daddy Matty’s BBQ & Catering, Crepe Time! Catering, Tropical Smoothie Café, Parsippany’s Best Pizza, Chick-fil-A, and The Lunch Box Express.

“We feel honored to be here because even though we are a school food business, we’re happy to participate,” said Victoria Onder, Mt. Olive resident and owner of the Lunch Box Express. “This is a great way to showcase our food and to get our face out there.”

The Lunch Box express is an East Hanover establishment and provides food services for the entire school district. Onder also owns another food business, known as Corporate Cuisine, based in Morristown. And the Hanover manor, she and her chefs teamed up to serve butternut squash risotto with sausage and pumpkin purses with white cheddar.

All evening long, over 100 attendants got to sample a variety of cuisine, from tacos, to pizza, cheeses and wines, pulled pork sandwiches, crepes, cookies and smoothies. Aside from the food vendors, everyone got to participate in tricky trays and 50/50 raffle prizes, with items donated by local business, such as Americana Salon & Spa, Bin 37, Cookie Cutter Haircuts, Diamond Gymnastics, Hanover Lanes, Lou’s Jewelers, Olympia Garruto, Powerhouse Fitness, Ronin Martial Arts, Songs for Seeds, and The Messy Artist, among others.

“I love Taste of the Towns, and I love the crepes and panini sandwiches,” said East Hanover resident Julie Tsanakos.  “It’s a great deal for the food vendors and the community because it puts everyone in touch with each other. And the East Hanover Cooperative Nursery School is only parent-run preschool that is still around and still successful.”

To learn more about the East Hanover Cooperative Nursery School, visit their website at http://ehcoop.com/, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EHcoopnursery/.