With 31 restaurants and caterers on board, this weekend's has a full roster. The annual food event begins Friday at 5 p.m., and continues through the weekend.
While many of the vendors are familiar faces at the event, there are several new names on this year's map. For a taste of something new, here are the places to look for:
Mystic's own . recently celebrated their grand opening. Located in the Ramada Inn just north of the highway, they are a franchise of the original Savin Rock Roasting Co. in West Haven, Connecticut. Known for their slow roasted house meats, Chef Jeff Overton has chosen small sandwiches made of the slow roasted pastrami and corned beef to feature at the festival, along with the popular, very tasty, and dairy free, Rhode Island clam chowder.
Also from Mystic is, which opened just a couple of months ago where the old Tim Horton's used to be, across from the Mystic Post Office. Unlike most of the vendors, Wide World of Bagels will have a fairly large selection from which to choose. You will be able to try one of their novelty bagels in a variety of shapes, regular bagels with cream cheese or butter, hot pretzels, novelty cookies, a small iced tea or coffee, a large hot Colombian coffee, or, for only three tickets a piece, a half-size wrap, a half-size panini, or a jumbo (31 fluid ounces) iced coffee.
BeachSide Catering is a new division of , whose focus is strictly catering. It shouldn't come as a surprise that they specialize in seafood catering.
We do "everything from casual to elegant ... everything from a simple raw bar to a full wedding,” said Office Manager Ann Ketelhut.
For the seafood lover's in your group, they will be serving New England clam chowder, shrimp cocktail, and shucked littleneck clams.
A fun new entry to the taste wars is Munchies Food Truck, which is already popular with the beach and college crowds in New London where their bright orange truck is usually seen. Owners Manal and Iman Saad of Waterford, both chefs, said after watching the Food Network and seeing food trucks everywhere they decided to try it themselves.
Their goal to "serve people good food" led to a menu of not so traditional fast food choices, with all natural ingredients and a Lebanese and African infusion of spices and sauces. But don't expect them in New London this coming weekend, because they will be at the Taste of Mystic serving up their popular munchie burgers, all natural french fries with organic ketchup and sea salt, and the delicious chicken stuffed pita wrap.
Mr. G's, a fixture in New London since 1966, will be making their first appearance at Taste of Mystic this summer. Peter Farnan, whose family has owned Mr. G's for over 45 years, recently returned from living in the Los Angeles area to open a new catering branch of Mr. G's called Pete's Gourmet Catering and Events. Coming a little late meant everything they would normally serve was already taken, so, "I had to be a little bit more creative, " Farnan said.
He has selected two items from their specials menu to present at Taste of Mystic this year, and one new item, which he has wanted to 'try out' to see how people respond. From their specials menu check out the buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese, and the Italian risotto balls. These are risotto mixed with cheeses; sausage, pepperoni and ham that are then deep dried and served with marinara sauce. For a taste of something brand new, try their lobster won ton Tacos; fried won ton shells shaped like mini tacos and stuffed with fresh lobster meat, grilled mango, lime and spices.
General Manager Jason Koenighaus of The Black Sheep Niantic, reported that their chef, John Schwartz, has chosen to stay away from regular menu items and is "featuring some up and coming dishes" that often show up as the daily specials.
At their booth look for roast garlic gazpacho and shrimp falafel sandwiches with tahini salad and house made hot sauce.
Last summer the restaurant "Bridge" replaced the UpRiver Cafe in the old wheelhouse building along the Pawcatuck River in Westerly. This year find them as one of the new venues at Taste of Mystic. Bridge according to Manager Mike Corso is an affordably priced eatery, which supports 'farm to table' and creates many dishes that highlight local seafood.
This coming weekend sample their grilled fish tacos; grilled swordfish placed on a bed of shredded cabbage inside a grilled tortilla topped with fresh pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, and finished off with a house made chipotle sauce. For a refreshing treat try their organic root beer floats.
And returning after an absence of several years, Flanagan's, a family oriented and family owned Groton restaurant will be celebrating the Taste with Philly cheesesteaks, chicken corn chowder and classic chocolate chip cookies.