Main Street was filled with flavor Saturday — tangy chicken, saucy barbecue, lobster bisque, and heart-shaped sugar cookies to name a few.
At this year’s Taste of the Albemarle, sweet, salty and savory samples offered ticket-buyers a chance to nibble something new or munch on a long-time favorite.
For Linda White of Elizabeth City, her first sample was a winner.
“I’m having brisket for the first time in my life, and it’s wonderful,” said White.
After her last bite of brisket from Cypress Grill, she and Karen Cahoon, also of Elizabeth City, were surveying what tent to try next.
They had plenty to choose from. About 20 local restaurants were participating in the annual Arts of the Albemarle fundraiser. Organizers were hoping to raise $10,000 from the night’s line-up of entertainment.
The opening welcome by the event’s chairwoman Marion Gutman was a simple one.
“Have fun. Eat, drink and dance,” she said.
Two Elizabeth City women were heeding that charge.
They were sampling teriyaki chicken and sweet and spicy chicken from Courtney’s Grill.
“I don’t know how many pounds I am going to put on, but I am going to do a good job of tasting, “ said Sheila Perry.
Friend Joyce Shaw offered a few words to ease her guilty pleasure.
“Maybe walking will balance it out,” said Shaw, nodding at the tents lining Main Street from Water to Martin Luther King streets.
The participating restaurants said they were ready for a big crowd. More than 500 tickets were sold ahead of time and more people were expected to make their ticket purchases at the event.
The Pineapple Cafe on Weeksville Road was ready to serve “700 pieces of everything,” said owner Jomie Cartwright.
Mini “everything cookies” with chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and coconut were among the choices.
Cartwright said she’s participated in the event every year since she opened.
“It’s easy advertising. It gets people to try the food,” she said.
Sally Sharber and Reegan Ulch from Spoonful of Sugar on North Road Street were also serving sweets. Their signature sugar cookies — heart-shaped with icing in colorful polka dots and glitter — were a likely hit. Sharber said he’s sent similar treats to Afghanistan and Iran from her online business.
Restaurant owners said they were prepared for a lot of hungry guests.
Montero’s Restaurant had 65 pounds of bacon and blue cheese dip and a storage bin of chips ready for the night. Kitchen manager Marketh Cole said the dip will be one of the restaurant’s new menu items, so he’s glad potential customers will have a chance to sample it.
Logan Raye’s Key West Grill had about eight gallons of lobster bisque prepared by chef Robert Connelly.
Currituck BBQ was serving up 50 pounds of barbecue and 30 pounds of slaw.
“I always plan in hope not to run out,” said owner Paul Robinson.