More than 200 people attended the inaugural Taste of Richmond Hill Business After Hours Thursday at the Richmond Hill City Center.
Thirteen local restaurants and caterers participated in the event, serving samples of their signature dishes to attendees. Offerings ranged from barbecue and pizza to tuna sashimi and seasonal bruschetta. Desserts were also served.
The event, hosted by the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce, was intended to promote local food service providers and create a forum for community networking.
“Social networking is an invaluable tool. There’s nothing like being eyeball to eyeball with someone, shaking hands and exchanging business cards,” said chamber director Brianne Yontz. “It’s a great opportunity for the restaurants and caterers to show off their products and services.”
Chef Katie McGarity was one of the 13 vendors who participated in the event. She opened her professional catering business, Katie’s Catering, last month, and the Taste of Richmond Hill event provided her with the exposure she was looking for.
“This is just great. I jumped as soon as I heard about it,” McGarity said. “I’ve met a lot of people here so far and had really great results.
McGarity served a seasonal butternut squash and cranberry bruschetta that was especially popular with the guests.
Community members mingled as they made their way from table to table, sampling the dishes.
“The food is really good,” said Rotary Club of Richmond Hill president Bill Eberlein. “I’ve been to all the stations, and it’s all good. I have to say my three favorites are the sliders from Southern Image, the City Center’s mini Monte Cristos and the Ice Cream Stop’s amazing pumpkin ice cream pie.”
Mayor Harold Fowler also enjoyed the offerings, and he deemed the event a success for the community.
“Turnout is great, and I hope people see what fine restaurants we have in Richmond Hill,” he said. “Really great food.”
Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce officials were pleased with the turnout and hopes to make Taste of Richmond Hill an annual event.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Yontz. “The restaurants and caterers did a fabulous job. I’m already looking forward to next year.”
The chamber’s next event will be the 3rd annual Christmas Stroll and Holiday Market from 10 a.m-4 p.m. on Dec. 10 in Richmond Hill. For more information, visit www.RHBCchamber.org.