More than 200 people turned out for the Taste of Richmond Hill Business After Hours Thursday at the Richmond Hill City Center.
Twelve local restaurants and caterers participated in the event, hosted by the Bryan County-Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce. Chefs and restaurant owners served samples of their signature dishes to attendees. Offerings ranged from pizza and soup to the night’s reigning favorite — shrimp and grits.
“People always say, ‘There’s no place to eat in Richmond Hill,’ but this proves there are tons of great restaurants in Richmond Hill,” said chamber director Brianne Yontz.
Yontz said the event, which is in its second year, was intended to promote local food service providers and create a forum for community networking.
“The reason we host this in November is because it’s a good opportunity for people to sample food and book venues and caterers for their holiday parties,” she explained. “When people think about the holidays, we hope they think of Richmond Hill first.”
Fish Tales owner Butch Broome participated in the event for the first time. He said it generated positive exposure for his restaurant and offered a fun, social environment for guests.
“This is good for the community,” said Broome. “Richmond Hill is a real unique place. It’s different from Savannah, Pooler, Rincon, Springfield and anywhere else. It’s a close-knit community, and this is a great way for us to all get together and see what it’s got.”
The Fish Tales station served homemade gumbo. Server Kasey Barclay dished out bowls of the soup while wearing the festive red Santa dress she dons every year for the Fish Tales float in the Richmond Hill Christmas parade.
Katie McGarity of Katie’s Catering, a veteran chef from last year, offered shrimp and grits and tuna tartare. She said last year’s Taste of Richmond Hill generated new business for her company, and she hopes this year’s will do the same.
“For catering, this event is more beneficial for me than any other I’ve been to, including the Seafood Festival,” she said. “This just gets my name out there, and lets people see what I have to offer.”
Community members mingled as they made their way from station to station, sampling the dishes.
“I have to say I’m a little worried about going through 18 meals in one evening,” joked Lesley Francis of Lesley Francis PR. “The food really is quite good, though. I headed straight for the City Center’s table when I got here. I know they do a great lunch.”
This year’s Taste of Richmond Hill was sponsored by Coastal Electric Cooperative. Mark Bolton, a company vice president, handed out free Co-op Connections cards, which offer discounts at most of the restaurants represented Thursday, among other local businesses.
“This is a great event for people who live here, and I hope they take the opportunity to sample some great dishes and take advantage of the benefits we’re offering them,” he said.
The chamber’s next event will be the fourth annual Christmas Stroll and Holiday Market from 10 a.m-3 p.m. on Dec. 8 in Richmond Hill. For more information, visit www.RHBCchamber.org.