Tasteful tour is an effort to lure visitors

Businesses hope event will publicize the historic town

April 20, 2001|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

What does Ellicott City taste like?

According to the Ellicott City Business Association (ECBA), it tastes like hamburgers, French cuisine and everything else in between. The association has organized a "Taste of Ellicott City" event May 30 in an effort to introduce more diners to the delectable delights on Main Street.

"We actually have 10 restaurants and four coffeehouses [on Main Street]," said Jared Spahn, president of the business association. "That's a lot for such a small area, and they all have something different to offer."

Getting the word out about Ellicott City is a top priority for the ECBA, which has been involved in a continuing beautification process to spruce up the area. Spahn said the group also has been seeking solutions to deal with another of the area's big issues - parking.

"One of the things we are working on is once we get these people to Ellicott City is how do we get them to the stores and restaurants," Spahn said. "The town is over 200 years old, and that has made parking a challenge."

Spahn said the group has just about raised the money needed to buy a trolley to transport patrons from satellite parking areas to Main Street. The "Taste of Ellicott City" will provide funds for the trolley's expenses, Spahn said.

For the event, participants will be taken by trolley through town for the progressive dinner. Stops will be made for each course - appetizer, soup, salad, main course, dessert and coffee. The cost is $150 a person. Entertainers, such as musicians, will appear throughout the streetscape.

Participating restaurants - Sidestreets, Phoenix Emporium, Tersiguel's, Cacao Lane, The Trolley Stop, La Palapa Grill and Cantina, Riverside Roastery, Old Mill Bakery CafM-i, Kirinyaga Specialties and Jahva House - are donating the food. Local merchants have agreed to donate items for grab bags.

Vickie Goeller, manager of the Phoenix Emporium, said attracting new visitors is vital to the survival of Main Street. "I think every business in town could always use new customers," Goeller said. "There are people in Howard County who have never even been to Ellicott City, and we're also trying to get people from other areas."

Don Reuwer of First Real Estate Management, property manager for several of the buildings on Main Street, said the "Taste of Ellicott City" could grow into an annual event.

"It's easy to do the first year, but the second year is going to depend on how well the first year goes," said Reuwer, who acts as the property owners committee chairman for the ECBA.

The event is the brainchild of Fernand Tersiguel, owner of the French restaurant Tersiguel's. He said using food to attract funds is a natural fit for the restaurateurs of Main Street.

"You have to raise money, and the only way to do that is to do what we do well," Tersiguel said. "And that's food."

Tickets for "Taste of Ellicott City," from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 30, are being sold at the Old Town Construction office, 8000 Main St., Ellicott City. Information: Tiffany at 410-480-9805.

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