The Taste of Buckhead is returning to showcase what the community’s restaurants have to offer, and this year’s event is taking on a more international flair.

Hosted by the Buckhead Business Association, the Taste will take place Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Stave Room at ASW Distillery in Buckhead.

“This year in particular we focused on having more ethnically diverse foods, including Ethiopian and Japanese food, as well as focusing on restaurants that are farm to table,” said Julie Bailey, the association’s president.

There are at least a dozen restaurants participating, including Benhihana, Bhojanic, The Capital Grille, NaanStop and Win Indonesian Grill & Gastrobar. It will also feature three beverage vendors and two dessert ones. Smita Kochhar, an association board member and event chair for the Taste, said the event “really highlights Atlanta’s food scene in Buckhead.”

“Buckhead has some of the best restaurants in the city. We’ll be featuring those,” she said. “Our event also includes many Buckhead business professionals, so there will be some networking (opportunities) along with having a good time.”

In addition to some of the restaurants, the event will offer other new additions, including chef demonstrations in the VIP area and some entertainment to be unveiled at the Taste.

With the event marking its 15th year, the association is celebrating by having Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell, a former Atlanta mayor, and his wife Sandra serve as the honorary co-chairs. Sam Massell is also a former association president.

“He’s a leader in the Buckhead community and has always been a proponent of membership to the Buckhead Business Association,” Bailey said. “So we were honored to have them chair this year’s event.”

Bailey said the Taste stands out partly because it has no paid staff.

“We’re the only taste event that’s run by volunteers that also benefits a nonprofit and centers itself in Buckhead. That alone makes it unique,” she said.

Each year the Taste’s Spirit Wall, where attendees can purchase a ticket for $20 and win a bottle of fine wine or spirits, benefits a different nonprofit. For 2019 the association chose Nicholas House, an Atlanta homeless shelter that helps families gain self-sufficiency, as the beneficiary.

“Nicholas House is the only homeless shelter in the city of Atlanta that will allow the adolescent boys to remain with their families,” Bailey said. “We found that to be particularly unique among the myriad of homeless services we have in Atlanta. They’re all wonderful, but Nicholas House keeps the families intact.

“I personally do a lot of work with the Nicholas House, and I’m on the board of the Atlanta Children’s Shelter. The fact that (Nicholas House) keeps the boys with their families is outstanding. Sometimes when they are separated from their families, that can be detrimental to them.”

Said Kochhar, “We wanted to really partner with (an association) member and help support someone involved in the organization but also support a local charity. We like the mission and how they help families.”

General admission tickets are $75, and VIP tickets, which are capped at 200, are $125. VIP tickets include early entry to the Taste (5:30 p.m.), a tour of the ASW Distillery, specialty cocktails and exclusive food samples.

Those who use the code NEIGHBOR2019 (all caps) will get $25 off the general admission price and $30 off the VIP price, but there are limited VIP tickets left.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.tasteofbuckhead.org.

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