Whitefish is a city known for its great selection of restaurants, with food options wide-ranging enough to fit any palate and new offerings popping up as menus, storefronts and trends change.
With so many choices, it can be daunting to consider trying everything when it comes to time and your wallet. And to this quandary, the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce offers up a solution: The 26th annual Taste of Whitefish, taking place on Sept. 5.
“When you look at the restaurants in Whitefish, it’s always changing,” chamber executive director Kevin Gartland said. “Even though the event itself is a quarter of a century old, there’s something fresh about it every year.”
The event is simple in design, with over 20 local restaurants setting up booths to give samples of their cuisine to ticketholders. While fresh and new food might be a draw, one of the biggest reasons people keep coming back is because favorites in the Whitefish dining scene do.
This year, ticketholders will get to sample tastings from such local heavy hitters as Ciao Mambo, the Stillwater Fish House, Latitude 48, Wasabi Sushi Bar, The Boat Club and many more.
Also included will be some of the region’s favorite caterers, including John’s Angels, Simple Chef and the Cuisine Machine.
To go along with the food, Fun Beverage will host a wine tasting, as will Glacier Sun Winery. There will be beer tasting available from Great Northern Brewing Company as well, Gartland pointed out, and whiskey from Glacier Distilling Company.
“You get the full array of taste items going on here,” he said.
Taste of Whitefish also allows established restaurants and caterers to share the space outside the O’Shaughnessy Center with up-and-coming chefs and food artisans, who may just be starting out and use the event as an introduction to the community.
Last year, the Stillwater Fish House was a newcomer to the event, Gartland said, and walked away with some of the top honors as bestowed by the tasters.
“Folks are looking for something different,” Gartland said. “It’s a good opportunity to introduce yourself if you’re new to town.”
The event sold out quickly last year, he said, and this year the tickets are going even faster. They cost $40 in advance and $45 at the door if they are available, and Gartland recommended buying them in advance to ensure entrance. Tickets include beer and wine tastings, as well as unlimited visits to the restaurants’ booths.
Restaurants and beverage companies participating in the Taste of Whitefish donate their time, product and talent for the event, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the chamber of commerce.
“It’s one of our major events of the year,” Gartland said. “We depend on it for our ability to serve the community year round.”
Taste of Whitefish is a good time for the local community to come together as well, Gartland said, though it is part of the chamber’s efforts to extend the summer tourism traffic and dollars into the fall shoulder season.
Events like this help, Gartland said, and though the traffic may ease off during the work week, weekends are still staying pretty busy around town.
“It used to be dead, and we’re seeing a lot more traffic in September for sure and into October than we ever have,” he said.
The main reason Taste of Whitefish has persevered for 26 years is the community’s desire for fun, good food and interaction with local businesses. That desire, Gartland said, will definitely be fulfilled this year.
“You will not leave hungry,” he said.
For ticketing information for Taste of Whitefish, visit www.whitefishchamber.org< or the chamber office at 307 Spokane Ave. or call 862-3501.
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