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Brandon

Taste event promises to go whole hog

More than 70 groups and businesses will join the restaurants at this year's event.

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published May 16, 2003

This bedroom community doesn't have the culinary reputation of San Francisco or New York, but 16 restaurants will strut their stuff on Thursday to prove there's plenty of good food to devour in Greater Brandon.

From chains like Chick-fil-A and Bennigan's to indies like McHale's Chophouse and the Tableside Chef, restaurants will offer treats including cheesecake, barbecued pig and lasagna.

More than 70 businesses and organizations, eager to talk about their ventures and services, will join the restaurants at this year's Brandon Business Expo & Taste of Brandon.

"This is just a huge number of people you can connect with in a short period of time," said Michael McKinney, owner of the Tableside Chef, a Brandon catering business.

The annual event, put on by the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, drew about 500 people last year. This year, organizers hope to have even more.

"It gives the businesses excellent exposure," said George T. May IV, chairman of the chamber's small business committee. "Not only to the community but to the other businesses."

The 16th annual Expo & Taste runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Sabal Park, 10221 Princess Palm Ave.

Advance tickets cost $10, $12 at the door. The money covers the chamber's expenses for hosting the event and for year-round chamber programs that support local businesses.

Attendees get free parking, one free beverage, and food from all participating restaurants. They also will have a chance to win prizes, including a three-day cruise. There will be a "Taste Off" contest in which attendees choose their favorite food from among the participating restaurants.

For more information, call 689-1221 or visit www.brandonchamber.com

Taste tidbits

The 16 restaurants participating in this year's Business Expo & Taste of Brandon offer a wide variety of fare, from rich home-baked cookies to a whole barbecued pig and pulled pork. Here's a sampling of what to expect:

LeAnn's Old-Fashioned Cookies: Fudge Spectacular cookies, an oatmeal-based brownie with fudge in the middle; and Chip-A-Roons, a chocolate chip-based brownie with coconut on top.

McHale's ChopHouse: Carolina Chopped Pork with the eatery's popular Smoky Mountain barbecue sauce.

JR's Floribbean Bar-B-Que: A whole barbecued pig, sliced to order.

Oaks Bar and Grill: Smoked ribs and best-selling crab and cheese soup.

Doc's Grille at Summerfield Crossings Golf Club: Walking Asian Soup and Salad.

The Tableside Chef: Lasagna, cheesecake and assorted pastries.

[Last modified May 15, 2003, 08:47:32]

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