Somerville’s status as an up and coming foodie hotspot has evolved to the point where it can be hard to decide where to go to grab dinner. Are you in the mood for German delicacies, a la Bronwyn? Tapas at La Brasa? Or maybe you’ve been craving the Indian food at Diva. If all of that sounds like too much to choose from, you’re in luck: All of those restaurants, and quite a few more, will be part of the 17th annual Taste of Somerville, returning June 3.
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“There’s really two driving forces,” says Morgan Bigley of the decision-making behind the festival. “One thing is just to give everybody an opportunity to see the really rich and vibrant food and brewing community that we have in Somerville by having more than 60 vendors in one place where people can come in and really get a taste of everything in Somerville in one spot. And then the other half of it, which is equally important, is that it’s a charity event.”
Proceeds from the festival benefit the Somerville Home, and Bigley, the general manager at Highland Kitchen, stepped in this year as the dining and nightlife chair for the Somerville Chamber of Commerce.
This is the second year the festival has been outside (it used to take place at the Holiday Inn), and Bigley’s first year as one of the organizers. “What I was excited about was getting all those really fresh, new faces in there alongside the restaurants that have been in Somerville for years and years.” Hence, you can grab a waffle from the Neighborhood Restaurant, and then head over to get a snack from Casa B.
Though the area has plenty of neighborhoods with good food, Bigley thinks there are a few things that set Somerville apart. “My feeling about the Somerville restaurant community is that there’s really a lot of character and a lot of honesty. Somerville is a very community-driven city, despite its somewhat larger size. You really get a feeling of neighborhood and a feeling of commitment to the community from all these different businesses in Somerville.”
Of course, the most important question is, how do you avoid filling up before you’ve tried everything? “It’s always hard because everything looks so good,” Bigley says with a laugh. “My advice to everybody is don’t get caugt up by that first table you see. Take a look, see if there’s any that you’ve been dying to try, and just do a lap and see all the cool things that Somerville has to offer.”
We tried to get details from Bigley about what Highland Kitchen will be serving up, but he swore they hadn’t decided yet. “We like to let people think we’re organized, but we’re usually trying to figure it out a couple days before.”
Tickets are selling fast, but you can get one for $50 at tasteofsomerville.com. Kids under 12 get in for $15, and VIP tickets that get you table-side service are $75.