Food & Drink

EVENT: A Taste of Sheepshead Bay 2014 & How the Neighborhood Gained a New Fan

by Lea Faminiano

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“Do you think anyone will even be there?”

That was the question my writer Casey and I posed to each other while trekking along Emmons Avenue. Little did we know – besides consuming practically everything Coney Island Hospital’s A Taste of Sheepshead Bay had to offer, we would also be eating those words.

Prior to this past Thursday, my Sheepshead Bay knowledge amounted to two facts: 1. It’s on the bay, and 2. It takes a very long train ride to get there. I have zero qualms about traveling to the far corners of the city for a bite to eat, but throw in the fact that it was Polar Vortex Part II, and I’m like – who on earth is traveling to Sheepshead Bay tonight, let alone stepping outside their front door?

Curiosity got the best of me, and it’s what brought Casey and I to the Baron DeKalb Knights of Columbus, right on the bay, where we got the answer to our question.

The place was hopping – we could barely find seats for the two of us!

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Was the food delicious? Of course it was. Was it abundant? Definitely. Participants were more than generous with portions and included Il Fornetto, Nargis Cafe, Wheeler’s, Anatolian Gyro, Masal Cafe, T&D Bakery, and more, representing a diverse selection of cuisines, such as Italian, Turkish, Chinese, Greek.

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The amount of meat we ate was obscene, with standouts for me being anyone that served meat-on-a-stick (Cats on the Bay and Tete-a-Tete Cafe, I’m looking at you). Jomart Chocolates was kind enough to cater to our two table visits, letting us take their extremely addicting coconut covered marshmallows and chocolates for “the road,” which actually ended up being the very short distance between the table and the entrance, because those treats were so good, we couldn’t wait until we were on the actual road.

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Part of the event’s intent, I believe, was to showcase the delicious food of the area to people like me, who don’t know much about Sheepshead Bay’s culinary gems, and who are also probably unaware that post-Sandy, Sheepshead Bay’s businesses are ready and waiting for visitors. Was the food enticing enough to bring me back? Sure! However, there’s another reason why I would make the trip out.

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I know everyone loves New York, and there’s most definitely a fierce Brooklyn spirit – but I have to be honest – I’ve never seen such an outpouring of pride and support for any neighborhood in New York City as I did for Sheepshead Bay that night.

You know how sometimes you go to an event and people in the community speak and no one really cares what they say? This was maybe the only event where I actually enjoyed listening to people talk – you could really feel the neighborhood pride, and it’s so refreshing to hear expressions so much love for a community. The number of non-Sheepshead Bay-ers that were in attendance is unknown to me, and it seemed that the majority of the guests were neighborhood residents, but being a Manhattan-ite didn’t seem to matter.

We compared the event to be like a close-knit small town’s celebration party for a local celebrity, like a football coach – only this one had a lot more food. Obviously, I love to eat, but what fascinates me more than food are the people behind it – and Sheepshead Bay’s food has got some good reps.

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After the event, I’m happy to say that I’ve added a couple new facts to my Sheepshead Bay knowledge vault: 1. Every neighborhood should take a hint and have A Taste of (Fill in the Neighborhood), 2. Sandy’s got nothing on a community like this one, and 3. Sheepshead Bay, I’ll be back!