Taste of Newton brings great food to Spring Street

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  • Brian Bode (left) and Rachel Meredith showcased their culinary creations from Bella Italia which is located in Andover. Photos by Laurie Gordon

  • Andre deWaal prepares clams as part of Andre's Restaurant's All American creation.

  • Andre's beach theme extended to a poke at the outgoing governor for his controversial holiday aty Island Beach during a partial state government shutdown this summer.

  • Don Cole, co-owner of Tuscany Bistro, puts the restaurant's offerings on display.

By Laurie Gordon

— Spring Street looked like a scene from the movie Midnight in Paris on Monday night as The 16th Annual Taste of Newton transformed the towns' main thoroughfare into a culinary extravaganza. In keeping with this year's theme of going All-American, restauranteurs prepared dishes accordingly.

Peter Freund, owner of Cliff's ice cream and a long-time supporter of the event said, “We brought Apple Crumble, Fresh Strawberry, Cookies and Cream and Morris County Mud tonight.”

Freund added, “This is a wonderful event that brings the community together for a great cause.”

Though Cliff's is located in Roxbury, the business has a strong presence in Sussex County as Cliff's ice cream is sold at Hayek's Market. Freund partnered with Hayek's owner, Dan Hayek, several years ago.

“It's been a fantastic partnership,” Freund said.

“It has really worked out well, and it's great to get together at this and other community events each year too.” Dan Hayek said, “Taste of Newton is one of our favorite community events. People get excited to come out and enjoy the town and all the different foods and it's for a great cause.”

Sponsored by the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce, proceeds from Taste of Newton will help fund the chamber's scholarship programs. Two of the scholarships are awarded to culinary students who want to further their education in the food industry.

“We always like to encourage young people to come into the food industry,” said Andre deWaal, co-owner and chef at Andre's Restaurant in Sparta. His wife and the restaurant's co-owner, Tracey deWaal, added, “It's a great event and a great night out.”

The deWaals “All American” twist included corn, clams and potatoes. Also, for some wry political humor, they included an image of Gov. Chris Chrisite on the beach on the very weekend he closed state facilities, including state beaches, due to a government budget impasse.

Taste of Newton featured over 20 restaurants and drew a crowd of about 300 guests who were able to sample as many foods as they wished throughout the evening. Guests also got to vote for their favorite restaurateur in four different categories: Best All-American Dish as well as the People's Choice, Most Creative Dish and Chamber's Choice.

Texas Smoke BBQ, of Hopatcong, was victorious in the All-American category with Between the Bread, located right on Spring Street, taking the People's Choice award for the second year in a row. United Methodist Communities at Bristol Glen captured both the Most Creative Dish and the Chamber's Choice awards.

Don Coldt, who owns Tuscany Bistro, in Newton, with co-owner Thorsten Stender, said, “It's important to have events like this on Spring Street. Newton's main street is the bloodline of the town. As a local business that's been here for 14 years, we feel it's great to support the town and the great cause that this event benefits.”

Located in Andover, Bella Italia's general manager, Brian Bode, was on hand to serve up Eggplant Rollatini and one of the restaurant's most popular dishes, Penne Asparagus with a Cognac Sauce and Shrimp.

“This is our first year at Taste of Newton," Bodse said. "We just haven't had the man power to spare in the past, but we are so glad to be here this year. This is an energetic event and a great chance to showcase our talent.”

Spring Street was shut down from 6:30 to 9:30 for the event as patrons enjoyed music by R.E.N.O., fantastic food and even a glass of wine.

“People have a great time and it's such a positive event for the downtown,” Freund said.

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