More than 500 people from the surrounding community packed the Monday night for the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce's annual .
Thirty-eight restaurants, the and several regional wineries and breweries presented and served their specialties to an appreciative crowd made up of Chamber members, community leaders, residents, elected officials and local foodies.
“I have been coming to [this event] for seven years, and this is definitely the best yet," said Blake Alleyn of The Sheraton Hotel Needham, which was represented by their Bullard’s restaurant.
Honorary Event Chairman Roger Berkowitz, President and CEO of , was as pleased to be there as any of the attendees, and was cited by Chamber member Karen Ficcardi as “a strong fixture in the community.”
The Chestnut Hill location of Legal Sea Foods was noted for being among the “shining stars” in the national seafood restaurant chain, though Berkowitz modestly told Newton Patch that he “just sells fish, that’s all.”
The colorful Newton Farmers’ Market display was the first thing guests saw as they entered the room. Market manager Judy Dore proudly shared with Newton Patch that for the first time this summer, the market will have a wine vendor. Lincoln-based Turtle Creek winery will be selling their wines at the Tuesday Cold Springs Market.
Offerings ranged from delicate finger foods like Petit Robert Bistro’s duck confit on a corn galette and sushi from to miniature versions of a complete meal from host restaurant . There were desserts from (cupcakes, of course), among others, and even had a sundae bar that was arguably the most popular spot in the room. offered a strawberry rhubarb crisp that will also be featured as part of the fundraiser.
Seana Gaherin of ’s, who was part of the Event Planning Committee, noted that the most important aspect of the event was that it was “a community event."
"It’s not just the Chamber; it’s not just the people of Newton and Needham," Gaherin continued. "We in the restaurant business rarely get a chance to have social events together, and this social contact is the best way to build our relationships.”
Fellow Event Planning Committee member Elli Kaplansky of B Street Restaurant concurred, enthusing that she was "proud" to be part of the event, especially in a year where restaurants were a real focus.
"People need to recognize that Newton and Needham are wonderful ‘food destinations,’ that they just do not need to go all the way into Boston for a great meal," Kaplansky said.
For photos of some of the evening's guests as well as the delicious dishes presented, check out the photo gallery above.