Saturday, May 16, 2015 (11AM-8PM)
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There’s something thrilling happening in Trenton, and you can taste it for yourself on May 16th, 2015. On that day you can join us for “Taste Trenton,” an event sponsored by the Trenton Council of Civic Associations. It’s a “small plate” restaurant crawl through Chambersburg, sampling the best of the Latino Revival, as well as some of the area’s wondrous Italian food and richly flavored Jamaican cuisine.
How does the Taste Trenton Work? Each of the sixteen restaurants in the tour will be serving a special menu of appetizer-sized small plates (for $3-$5), featuring the best of their menu. ONLY people who’ve paid for a Trenton Taste ticket can order these specials. These tickets are $10/adult at the day of the event, and $7 in advance (kids under 12 can get a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket–and uniformed police, fire, EMS, and Dept of Corrections officers will also be given free tickets). Tickets will give you parking assistance, a guidebook and map of the restaurants, and access to those special small plates. You can explore on your own or travel as a group, and you can visit the restaurants for lunch and dinner anytime between 11AM-8PM. Any profits from ticket sales will be donated to a local charity. If you haven’t tried gooey pupusas, pillowy sopes and huaraches, fragrant callaloo, and luscious Trenton guacamole, this is your chance.
Chambersburg is a charming neighborhood in South Trenton that has long been known for its immigrant-run family-owned restaurants, bakeries, and food stores. Back in the 20th century, when Chambersburg was the 3rd largest “Little Italy” in the entire US of A, that meant nearly 100% Italian–and families used to drive from the suburbs to dine at one of the ‘burgs dozens of delicious Italian joints. Well, most of those Italian places have closed (though not all), but that hardly means that they’re gone. In fact, those same buildings are now fully occupied by a new wave of immigrant families who are exploding Trenton’s food scene with the comforting flavors of their home countries. Yes, it’s Trenton’s Hispanic Revival–cooks from Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and many other places are opening their own joints, and they offer some of the best food you can get in Mercer County (indeed, Chambersburg is the epicenter of Trenton’s Guatemalan community, now the 6th largest in the USA).
Taste Trenton is a fabulous way to sample a bunch of them at once. If you look at the map in the header, the labeled, TCCA logos show the first 12 restaurants in Taste Trenton, 11 of which we currently review in Hidden Trenton (there are 4 restaurants that just joined–we’ve featured them below and will shortly be adding them to the map). It’s not every restaurant we like in Chambersburg (the H icons show our reviewed restaurants that aren’t part of the Tour), but it’s a big chunk of the ones in central Chambersburg. It’s not your momma’s Italian food (except here, which is exactly your momma’s Italian food!).
The restaurants featured on this small plate crawl include some of our favorites:
- Amici Milano— The last surviving ‘Burg Italian, for good reason
- Restaurant El Mariachi–Best Guatemalan in town. A Trenton institution!
- Tierra Maya— Tiny, charming, superb Mexican in the old ‘Burg
- Bamboo Grill–Tiny ‘Burg takeout joint w/best Jamaican in town
- Mi Tierra–Friendly Guatemalan conveniently on S Clinton
- La Parrilla–New Guatemalan, done well
- El Potrillo–Huge-portioned Mexican eats in the ‘Burg
- Guate Linda–“Reader’s Favorite” offers solid Guatemalan food
- Fuente Del Buen Gusto–Baked goods, coffee, buffet, and kitchen, all in 1
- Castillo’s–Good Mex, mediocre pizza: New Trenton in a microcosm
- Casa Lupita–Friendly, home-cooked Mexican in the ‘Burg
- Puerto Barrios
- La Monja Blanca–Gorgeously-plated Mexican & Guatemalan dishes (just added to Taste Trenton!)
- Sabor Latino–Friendly Dominican bar with a full menu (just added to Taste Trenton!)
- La Chapinita–Excellent Guatemalan where Papa’s used to be (just added to Taste Trenton!)
- Pure Vida (just added to Taste Trenton!)
If you (or your family) are still nostalgic for the Chambersburg days of old, this is your opportunity to dust off those memories and explore the streets again with their vibrant new culinary delights. If you’re a newcomer to the area, come experience some of the best that Trenton has to offer. Either way, visit their website to get your tickets in advance and save a few bucks.
We’ll see you in the ‘Burg!