This article was originally published in the April 2017 Trenton Downtowner. 

The Trenton Council of Civic Associations (TCCA) hosts its third annual Taste Trenton restaurant crawl, beginning on Friday, April 21, and continuing through Sunday, April 23.

The event is designed to build on the two previous successes — attracting 600 participants in 2016 — and continue Trenton’s reputation as one of the nation’s “Top Foodie Destinations,” as determined by the Nebraska-based Infogroup. That business data and marketing solutions provider listed Trenton eighth in its 2016 list of the nation’s top 10 food cities. The group linked Trenton’s high ranking to it being the “home of the New Jersey staple Pork Roll and a reminder that being a ‘foodie’ doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, but rather local, novel, and niche.”

Taste Trenton is designed to help city residents, workers, and visitors explore the city’s ethnically varied restaurants. Participating restaurants range from old favorites, such as Amici Miano, to the newly opened 128 West State Street Cafe.

According to TCCA vice president and event coordinator Bernard McMullan, the event uses a self-guided restaurant tour to familiarize people with places they may not have visited. “We give people the chance to visit each restaurant, learn where it is, and get a sense of its feel and ambience without having to commit to a whole meal.”

Visitors participate by purchasing a Taste Trenton 2017 wristband, valid for all three days and making band carriers eligible for reduced-price specialty menu items — ranging from $2 to $5 — at each of the more than 20 participating restaurants.

Participants also receive a guidebook describing each restaurant’s specialty menu and a detailed map.

Wristbands for the event (valid all weekend) are $7 if purchased in advance at tastetrenton.com beginning April 1, or at the Trenton Visitors’ Center at 102 Barrack Street (the Old Masonic Temple), and $10 if purchased on any of the three days of the event. Children under 12 can participate for free, paying only for food at participating restaurants. Guidebooks and same-day wristbands may be picked up at Artworks Trenton located at 19 Everett Alley. See artworkstrenton.org for directions.

Net proceeds from Taste Trenton will be distributed to Trenton-based organizations that address hunger among city residents.

TCCA organized the first Taste Trenton in 2015 to focus on the addition of new and culturally different restaurants in the once mainly Italian Chambersburg section of Trenton. The event drew more than 250 visitors and prompted the TCCA to expand the 2016 event to three days and include downtown restaurants.

Taste Trenton launches the spring and summer series of Trenton events that include the First Fridays on Front Street, (starting May 5 and continuing through the summer), the two Pork Roll Festivals (May 29), Art All Night (June 17 and 18), and the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series (late July through late September).