Inaugural Taste of North Town to Spotlight Uptown Eateries

tasteofnorthtown

The site of the Greener Good farmers market will host the Taste of North Town. Photo by Sarah Bennett.

On Wednesdays, as students stream out of Jordan High School and down Artesia Blvd. and Atlantic Ave., the 9th District’s only farmers market opens for business. For the last year, the Greener Good North Farmers Market has been activating the empty lot at the North Long Beach intersection every week, bringing together family members, neighbors and people from across North Long Beach for in-person interaction hard wrought in a section of the city with few public gathering places. 

“When we first opened, there had never been a farmers market in this area before,” said Stephen Metz, one half of the managerial team that operates Greener Good. “I immediately saw how important it was to have this space where people can talk to farmers and talk to one another. Those interactions create relationships you can’t get any other way.”

Seeing potential through the sense of community generated by the farmers market, Metz begun to think about a way to give local restaurants the same exposure that his farmers had. Inspired by neighborhood-centric food events like the Taste of Downtown and Stroll and Savor in Belmont Shore, Metz decided it was time for the 9th District to get its own gastronomic spotlight. 

Taste of North Town was born.

salsgumboshackfood“North Long Beach doesn’t get the same exposure as Downtown and Belmont Shore does,” said Metz. “But it’s all about perception. People don’t think they can get good food up here, but that’s simply not true.”

Presented by Soul Bound Media–a production and promotions company run by Metz and his Greener Good co-manager Jorge Rivera–the inaugural Taste of North Town this Sunday will feature nine vendors and restaurants from North Long Beach’s finest including Johnny Rebs, El Cortez, Sal’s Gumbo Shack and Robert Earl BBQ. Each restaurant will have small bites available for between $1 and $4.

The free day-long event is also being held in conjunction with the Arts Council for Long Beach’s A LOT North experience, which will provide local art and entertainment alongside the food tastings. The Art Trucks Mobile Gallery Exhibition will be open for public viewing along with performances by Donna Sternberg and Dancers, Katina Mitchell and a special guest performance by Nick Cannon’s singer/songwriter brother, Reuben Cannon.

In their pursuit of getting residents of North Long Beach to come out on Sunday for a chance to interact with their community in person, Metz and Rivera did their own face-to-face promotional tour, speaking at neighborhood meetings in the 90805 and flyering the event all over North Town. If this first attempt is a success, Metz says he hopes to have it twice a year.

“The first goal is to get people in North Long Beach together over local food–the icing on the cake would be if people from Downtown or Belmont Shore came too,” he said. “They’ll be able to see that the food up here is exactly the same and maybe they’ll get to know this part of town while they’re at it.”

Taste of North Town will take place Sunday, October 20 at the A LOT North site on the corner of Artesia Blvd. and Atlantic Ave. from 11:30AM-5PM. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. For the full schedule of art performances, visit http://alotlongbeach.org.

Second photo: The Rex Special po boy from Sal’s Gumbo Shack. Photo by Sarah Bennett.

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.
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