VALPARAISO | Laura and Andrew Kovats, of Valparaiso, say they came downtown early Saturday to enjoy the Central Park Plaza, and then they returned, just in time to sit out the brief downpour in their car before heading back out to eat.
The Taste of Downtown may have been a little soggy between lunch and dinner, but that didn’t stop the folks like the Kovats from chowing down.
“We love coming down here and when we saw it on Facebook, we knew we had to go,” said Laura Kovats, who nibbled on grilled shrimp and crab Rangoon from Bon Femme, and arroz con pollo from Don Quixote.
“The crab Rangoon is to die for,” Andrew Kovats added.
Sam and Kathy Werkema, owners of Paparazzi, said that festivalgoers were coming back just in time for the dinner hour and they were ready with Italian roast beef, cold chicken salad on croissants and fresh fruit.
“We were holding on to the canopy for about 20 minutes, hoping it wouldn’t blow away, and the crowd cleared out but as soon as the sun came out, the people of Valpo came running back,” Sam Werkema said.
Helping to introduce Valpo’s downtown restaurants is one objective of the one-day event, says Paul LoDuca, organizer and owner of Pikk’s Tavern.
“It’s our third year and we want to expand people’s knowledge of our restaurants and let them taste what we have to offer. Every year it gets better and with the park done, it’s even nicer,” said LoDuca who offered a number of craft beers and wines, introduced by sommelier Jay Fields.
“We’re showing that downtown Valpo is a place for progressive thinking and people appreciate what we’re doing. All of the restaurant owners get along well here and we feed off of each other,” he said.
For Zach Songer, 12, of Valparaiso, coming down to the event to hear live entertainment in the park and share good food with his dad was what it was all about, but he said he enjoyed one food above all others.
“Cotton candy,” said Songer.