WALLINGFORD — Hop around and enjoy great eats from different restaurants at downtown Wallingford’s Annual Restaurant Hop on Wednesday, May 17.
“Instead of doing a restaurant week we do a one-day event where we have all of our restaurants in the downtown area participate in this hop,” said Liz Davis, executive director at Wallingford Center Inc.
From 5 to 9 p.m. all are welcome to visit the 16 restaurants downtown including The Eatery of Wallingford, Green Kettle Coffee, Cafe Luca Belle and Le Jardin Cafe.
“We’ve done the program before and it’s great; there’s always a good turnout,” said Jon Masella, owner of The Eatery of Wallingford at 65 South Colony Road. “And there’s more shops and restaurants participating this year which is also great.”
This is Green Kettle Coffee’s first time participating. They recently opened in December.
“We’re super excited,” said Kristen Gilbride, owner of Green Kettle Coffee. “I feel like it’s a pretty cool idea of having everyone being able to try a little bit of each place.”
Participants will receive a map, a list of participating restaurants and their menus.
“They can pick and choose how they want to go around and visit each one,” Davis said.
Visitors will experience a sampling of signature dishes or drinks at each restaurant.
“We (The Eatery) will be offering a selection of sandwiches off of our menu, probably some seasonal specials, and then we’ll also be featuring some of our summer ice drinks. We’re going to be doing new lemonades and teas, as well as our new specialty coffee program, so some of our espressos and lattes,” Masella said.
Green Kettle will be offering three fun drinks.
“One is an Elderflower Iced Coffee and it’s a really great spring summer flavor. I feel like, recently, Elderflower has been super popular. Then we have a Berry Hibiscus Tea with seltzer – it’s also very summery and refreshing. And then last we have our Lavender Black Iced Milk Tea and that’s one of our seasonal drinks that we have on the menu now,” said Gilbride. “We were really excited and we wanted to make it very spring-like for the HOP. We’re really excited to see what people think of these drinks and to meet everyone.”
New to the hop this year is a scavenger hunt with five other merchants.
“This is the first year we’re doing it. I thought it would be great to add something a little different, add a little bit of fun to the event,” Davis said.
Participants have a chance to win two raffle prizes, one by purchasing tickets and the other by doing the scavenger hunt. The grand prize is a gift certificate from every participating restaurant. “Both are worth $350 in gift cards,” said Davis.
Participants must keep track of the scavenger hunt by filling out the raffle ticket and giving it to that particular merchant. Then Davis will pick a name out of that drawing from those participating merchants.
“You can purchase wristbands either online, or at four different locations: Harriman Real Estate, Yankee Cloth, WCI @ HUBCAP of Wallingford, or Cafe Luca Belle. Those locations have the availability to take cash or check,” said Davis.
There are a total of 350 tickets that are currently on sale up to the day of the event.
“This is one of our major fundraisers and all the proceeds come here to the Wallingford Center,” said Davis. “We use the money to purchase flowers, for the upkeep of the downtown area as far as plantings and stuff like that, or to provide other types of decorations the town doesn’t support.”
The committee had a great time coming up with ideas for this year’s event, Davis said, and she expects that Yelp foodies will come to town to share their takes on the participating restaurants.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Davis said.
Wallingford Center Inc. can be found on their website at wallingfordcenterinc.com.
They can be reached by phone at 203-284-1807 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.