Restaurants team up for annual Taste of Duneland
CHESTERTON — Friends Jo-Ellen Ormes of Crown Point and Mary Ann Haughee of Valparaiso attended the Taste of Duneland for the first time Saturday.
They split fish tacos, bean salad, braised beef ribs and barbecue ribs at the festival, held in Thomas Centennial Park.
“The food is fabulous, it really is,” Ormes said.
“And it’s affordable,” Haughee added.
The two joined thousands of other people to sample goodies from more than 15 restaurants from Chesterton, Porter, Burns Harbor and Beverly Shores in the seventh annual festival, sponsored by the Duneland Business Initiative Group.
The festival draws not only people from local communities, but also those from as far away as Indianapolis who are in the area for the weekend, said Ross LeBleu, a volunteer with the business group.
“I love that the local community comes out and supports their local restaurants,” he said.
Nada Kraus, who owns Lucrezia’s with husband Michael, said her restaurant is one of the festival’s sponsors. She loves that the festival overlaps for a few hours with the weekly European Market, drawing a crowd from that as well.
“This is really one of the only events we do here where the restaurants come together” from the entire Duneland community, she said, adding that when she opened in 1998, there weren’t that many restaurants in the area.
The event also offered live music, wine and craft beers.
“It’s the end of summer, and we all come together and say, ‘Isn’t it great to be a part of this community?’ ” she said.
In addition to the food Ormes and Haughee sampled, the event also offered Mexican food, jerk chicken, popcorn, pretzels and a wide array of other tasty treats.
“It’s a good chance to try out restaurants you wouldn’t usually go to,” said Amy Martin of Valparaiso, who’s been to the festival four times with her husband, Dan.
JoEllen Ormes (left), of Crown Point, and Mary Ann Haughee, of Valparaiso, share ribs Saturday at Thomas Centennial Park in downtown Chesterton during the Taste of Duneland.