COMMUNITY: Global eating in Silver Spring

COMMUNITY • BY ED LEVY

On a Sunday last month, the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board (Board) hosted the third annual Taste the World in Fenton Village festival.

The event was designed as a ‘restaurant crawl,’ encouraging residents and visitors to stop by the many unique high-quality restaurants between Fenton Street, Wayne Avenue, Georgia Avenue, and MD 410.

For the festival, each restaurant offered a menu of specialty samples costing from $2-$5, and participants could figuratively taste the world “traveling” from Ethiopia to Mexico, and from Nepal to Italy. Participants had their “passports” stamped at each restaurant they visited to allow them to qualify for raffle drawings.

From left, Board member Jonathan Bernstein, Lisa Martin of Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., and Event Chair Jessica Fusillo. Photo by Ed Levy

From left, Board member Jonathan Bernstein, Lisa Martin of Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., and Event Chair Jessica Fusillo. Photo by Ed Levy

Luis Marroquin, owner of La Taqueria D.F. on Wayne Avenue, said, “We are new to Silver Spring and participated for the first time.  We invite everyone to sample our authentic Mexican fare, and hope to welcome you back to visit us again.”

Lok Tiwari, owner of Ghar-E-Kabob also on Wayne Avenue, said that “Taste the World in Fenton Village has been great to us, allowing us to meet many of our neighbors and introducing them to our unique Indian and Nepali cuisine.”

A lot of work was done by a lot of volunteers to make this year’s event come together. Some former Board members returned just to be part of the Board’s signature event. Some worked for months and others just for the day of the event, but as Board member and event chair Jessica Fusillo said, “Just like in the theater, there are no small parts.”

Volunteers met with and signed up this year’s 26 participating restaurants, solicited donors who provided raffle prizes, printed passports and window signs, and during the last few days, distributed balloons, stamps for passports, and took care of a hundred other last minute details. The afternoon’s non-stop music was provided by Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.

Musicians from around the world played all afternoon. Photo by Ed Levy.

Musicians from around the world played all afternoon. Photo by Ed Levy.

The Board surveyed participating restaurants two days after the event, and found that 25 of 26 restaurants judged the event to be a success. Only one restaurant said they would not return to participate next year. Slightly under half had already seen an increase in customers, while many others said it was too soon to tell.

Taste the World is a reminder of the unique nature of the place we call home, and also a pleasant and very filling afternoon.

About the Author

Edward Levy
Ed is a native of Bawlmer, Merlin, who has 'temporarily' lived in the DC area since the mid-70s, including the last 31 years in Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Interested in travel, politics, public policy, and just about everything else. Enjoys writing for this great progressive community-focused paper.