Taste of Niles offers chance to sample local delicacies
Mykonos Restaurant executive chef Jimmy Biskos gets a plate of pastitsio ready at the restaurant Nov. 9. The restaurant is one of many taking part Sunday in the eighth annual International Taste of Niles. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 4:47PM
NILES — Chefs at local restaurants will soon be busy cooking up some of their favorite dishes to serve at the International Taste of Niles — but not just to feed hungry guests.
“It’s to support a cause,” said Ken Hoffman, owner of Howard Street Inn, 6676 W. Howard St. “It’s good for Niles.”
The eighth annual International Taste of Niles will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at White Eagle Banquets, 6839 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The event is a fundraiser for the Niles Sister Cities Organization, which promotes a positive relationship with Niles Sister Cities: Pisa, Italy; Nafplion, Greece; Leixlip, Ireland; and Limanowa, Poland.
Hoffman, whose restaurant has participated in the event for the past five years,said members of the banquet staff work hard to prepare their popular barbecued meatballs that they serve at the annual event. According to Hoffman, in addition to supporting a good cause, the event also makes people aware of what restaurants in their neighborhood have to offer.
“We’re trying to celebrate our total diversity,” said Village Manager and Sister Cities Chairman George Van Geem.
To represent more segments of the Niles community, Korean and Eastern European restaurants are all included at the Taste, Van Geem said.
Each year the event, hosted at the White Eagle Banquet Hall, brings in about 350 to 400 people and offers food from about 10 different local restaurants.
This year’s Taste will feature cuisine from Amici Ristorante. Graziano’s Brick Oven Pizza, Howard Street Inn, Kappy’s Restaurant, Lone Tree Manor, Moher Public House, Mykonos Restaurant, Play Book Sports Bar, Tony’s Finer Food, White Eagle Banquets and Woori Village. Uncle Sam’s hot dogs and Aunt Martha’s Apple Pie will also be featured.
The Niles Fire Department will serve homemade chili, and donuts will be provided by the Niles Police Department.
Van Geem said the Taste collects about $4,500 or more to support the Niles Sister Cities. Funds can be used to help Niles students pay for a trip to Italy, for example, to experience a student exchange.
Dimitrios Merageas, the owner of Mykonos restaurant, 8660 Golf Road, has been participating in the International Taste of Niles since the beginning.
“I serve different things every year,” said Merageas, a member of the Niles Sister Cities Organization. He said he has served Greek chicken and Dolmades in the past.
“We make food for about 400 to 500 people,” he said. “We have the best food.”
The event will also feature entertainment by Enzo Incandela, Joe Walega and the Happy Hearts and Joe McShane.
A full cash bar, prize raffles and a 50/50 raffle will also be a part of this event and just like in past years, kids will be able to enjoy activities in the children’s area.