'We Wanted to Make the Day Special': Taste of Tribeca Celebrates 25 Years

Takahachi, one of 60 restaurants at the 25th annual Taste of Tribeca, served up hand rolls to the crowd. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

May. 20, 2019

“It was a perfect day.”

That’s how Bettina Teodoro summed up the Taste of Tribeca, held on Saturday under sunny skies for its 25th anniversary. As a fourth-year co-chair of the giant food fest, Teodoro said she and other organizers were “humbled” to be producing the event, a fundraiser for P.S. 150 and P.S. 234, at this quarter-century milestone. “We really wanted to do what we could to make the day special,” she said, “to make it run well most of all.”

Food and a lot of other fun at the 2019 Taste of Tribeca. Photos by Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Teodoro, a P.S. 150 parent who helmed the event along with co-chair Andrea Flamenco from P.S. 234, said this Taste had its biggest day-of ($55) ticket sales in the last six years, and estimated an attendance of some 3,500 people. Sixty restaurants participated.

“You can see what happens when the weather is not great,” said Teodoro, referring to last year’s event, when volunteers and restaurateurs bravely persevered through heavy rain.

“We all prayed to the rain gods at the beginning of the year and they answered our prayers. It’s just been an amazing day,” said P.S. 150 Principal Jenny Bonnet. “And for the 25th anniversary it’s really, like, thank goodness!”

It was 25 years ago that Rocco and Electra Damato, owners of the former Bazzini restaurant and specialty food store on Greenwich Street (now the site of Sarabeth’s) helped launch Taste of Tribeca with Steven Wils of Harry Wils and Co., a purveyor to restaurants then on Duane Street, and two parents from the Early Childhood Center (now P.S. 150), Colette Wong and Deborah Pearson. Rocco, who spoke to the Trib during the Taste’s 20th anniversary, recalled watching the school rummage sales from his store across the street and thinking there were more effective ways to raise money. With arts funding being cut to public schools, they founded the event to make up for the shortfall, and P.S. 234 joined the effort. Price of six tastes: $15.

“The first year we made $28,000—a lot better than rummage sales,” Damato said.

Seven of the original eateries from that first year still participate: Gigino Trattoria, Duane Park Patisserie, Tribeca Grill, Bouley at Home (formerly Bouley), The Odeon, Walkers and Bubby’s. “It’s incredible,” Bubby’s owner Ron Silver said of the event’s growth over the years.

A newcomer to the Taste was Dana Rappaport, who is completing her first year as principal of P.S. 234. “It is an amazing and heartwarming thing,” she said, “to see a community come together like this.”