“Taste on the River” – Premier West Columbia event is Feb. 26

Taste on the River, 2018.

“Taste on the River” in a very short time, has become one of the most-anticipated events in West Columbia.

The third Taste on the River is from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., Feb. 26, at Stone River beside the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater.

“We expect a large crowd,” said Bill Mooneyhan, who helped create the event as a fundraiser for the West Columbia Beautification Foundation. “It gets better every year, and we think this one will be outstanding.”

“Taste” features the best restaurants from West Columbia, Columbia, the Vista, and Vista West, showcasing their cuisine. It includes a tour of multiple tasting stations throughout the building. There is also a silent auction for thrills and deals.

“It’s a great evening,” said Melissa Sprouse-Browne, chairwoman of the West Columbia Beautification Foundation. “It will be a wonderful event.”

She said the silent auction this year will feature a wine tree with 50 bottles of wine. The winner of the wine tree will take home all of the wine and the apparatus holding it.

“This year we have some new and exciting things,” said Steve Cohen, a member of the WCBC who hlped found Taste. His is also  past board president of the Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

Melissa Sprouse-Browne, chairwoman of the WCBF, left.

Cohen said he is pleased with the evolution of Taste on the River. “It has become a significant event in just three years,” he said.

“Taste is one of the most fun social gatherings in West Columbia,” said Cohen. “Everybody comes to it and everyone has a great time, based on the feedback I get.”

Cohen said “Taste” has quickly become as important as the Chamber’s annual gala, the Tribute to Trees and the Gervais Street Bridge Dinner.

“Taste is the place to be,” Cohen said. He also said the proceeds from this year’s “Taste” would go to a different area of the city.

“We are using the funds raised from “Taste on the River” along the US 1 corridor,” said Cohen. “It’s a good way to focus on the beautification of that area.”

Past money raised by the WCBF has gone to plant trees along the US 378-Sunset Boulevard corridor. “We are targeting three areas of US 1, in the city limits with the money we raise at Taste on the River this year,” said Cohen.

Just as the event has become more popular for those attending, the chefs who serve the people of West Columbia are more interested, too.

Steve Cohen, Lainie Lewis and Bill Mooneyhan at a past Taste event.

Sprouse-Browne said Columbia chef and restaurateur Kristian Niemi will be at “Taste on the River” this year. Niemi has announced plans to open a restaurant and bar on top of the Brookland development, in West Columbia, that overlooks the Congaree River.

The name of that establishment is Black Rooster. It will be a French-inspired restaurant modeled after French brasseries and bistros. It will feature views of downtown Columbia.

In addition to Black Rooster, Sprouse-Browne said the line-up of restaurants participating this year has expanded with some new additions.

Restaurants to sample are: @116 Espresso and Wine Bar; Black Rooster; The Blended Bakery; Brookland Baptist Church and Conference Center; Cafe Strudel West Columbia; DeLucca’s Italian Grill; Grecian Gardens Restaurant; Little Pigs BBQ buffet; La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant; Parkland Cakes; Primal Gourmet; Zesto of West Columbia

Tickets are $50, and that includes two drink tickets and event admission. There is a cash bar. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS AND TO SIGN UP FOR ONLINE BIDDING: Also visit: Beautify West Columbia.org for more info.

Call 803-791-1880 x 616 to purchase your tickets or use the link in the event.

Categories: Cayce, Lexington, Lexington County, West Columbia