By Jess Winans
Ditch your diet and head on down to the 10th annual Taste of La Mesa event to bite, crunch and sip your way through samples from more than 25 local caterers, restaurants, cafes, coffee-shops and drinkeries.
The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s event will take place June 11 from 5–8 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center, located at 4975 Memorial Drive. A General Admission or VIP ticket is required and may be purchased online at lamesachamber.net/taste.
“We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary this year,” said Mary England, President and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. “It’s always great when I can interact with food and beverage providers. [Taste of La Mesa] is our opportunity to shine and allow them to show some of their dishes and interact with the public. I always say, ‘don’t be on a diet when you come to the Taste of La Mesa’ — there’s just too much good food. Your diet has to be thrown away when you come.”
Returning vendors include Marie Callender’s, Brigantine Restaurant of La Mesa, Valley Farm Market and others.
“It’s always been a positive experience and it’s always nice to see new people, business owners, new faces and old faces,” said Joe Flaherty, owner of Marie Callender’s, a 5-year Taste of La Mesa participant.
Famous for their pies, Marie Callender’s also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Sundays. Additionally, they have meeting rooms available for reservation providing local community organizations a comfortable place to meet.
“[Marie Callender’s] have been participating in Taste of La Mesa for years and they always support us,” said England, who holds her La Mesa Chamber of Commerce breakfast meetings there. “They have great food, good service, it’s easy to get to and they’re a valued chamber member.”
Among the list of vendors are a few business who previously participated. After taking a break, they decided to return to the event, such as Mexican restaurant El Torito.
“We’ve been involved in Taste of La Mesa for 10 years,” said manager Gina Argerake of La Mesa. “Last year was the only year we didn’t do it because our regional director said we didn’t have the funds for that year. We definitely do now and we’re super happy to be back. I love seeing all the regulars that we have at the store come to Taste of La Mesa. I also love when we see people we haven’t seen before come in to the restaurant after seeing us at Taste of — it’s really cool to see the actual return on participating.”
New Taste of La Mesa vendors include Curbside Eatery and Drinking, and Brew Coffee Spot.
“We’re part of the community and we want to get our name out there so people know not only about the other wonderful restaurants in La Mesa, but for people to try our coffee and get a little idea of who we are.,” said Brew Coffee Spot manager Joe Paraiso of Fletcher Hills. “It’s just a super cool way to meet the owners of these establishments and get a chance to see what La Mesa has to offer.”
The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce was reorganized in 2008 by England. It serves as a place for local businesses to connect with one another and also with customers and residents. As a way to give back to the community, the chamber holds various events throughout the year such as holiday giving programs including collecting goods for local seniors and children in need.
Additionally, they hold the annual Salute to Local Heroes dinner where they recognize local law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics and volunteers from the Retired Seniors Volunteer Patrol. The Chamber of Commerce holds two other expos in addition to Taste of La Mesa which include “Spring Fling” and “Summer Bash” providing businesses a chance to show off their goods and services to the community.
Taste of La Mesa vendors:
- BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
- Blue Lagoon Coffee
- Bo-beau kitchen + garden
- Brew Coffee Spot
- Brigantine Restaurant of La Mesa
- Cali Comfort BBQ
- Continental Catering
- Cucina Basilico
- Curbside Eatery & Drinkery
- Dream Dinners
- Edible Arrangements
- El Torito – La Mesa
- Farmer’s Table
- Golden Spoon
- Himalayan Cuisine
- Hooleys Public House
- Luna Grill
- Marie Callender’s
- Nonno’s Ristorante Italiano
- Pick Up Stix
- Riviera Supper Club
- Samuel Adams
- San Pasqual Winery
- Sycuan Casino
- Tarantino Gourmet Sausages
- Terra American Bistro
- The Hills Local Pub
- Valley Farm Market
For more information about the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, visit lamesachamber.net.
— Jess Winans is the editorial assistant at SDCNN, parent company of the La Mesa Courier. Reach her at email@example.com.