Watersports

Tasting in a trolley: This is how the restaurant tour on the South Shore went

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Two carts drove through the hearts of Annadale, Eltingville and Great Kills on Sunday afternoon for a five-hour restaurant visit. South Shore Business Improvement District and Councilman Joe Borelli’s annual August event aimed to showcase future favorite spots to the 250 lucky guests who won tickets to the sampling event sold out.

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Tram driver Al Moore said the winding South Shore streets and right turns to restaurants were “a breeze”. The retired MTA Flex-bus driver also gave high marks to a burratta cheese slice from Nonna’s in Great Kills.

Augie, left, and dad, Franny Costanzo at Nonna’s in Great Kills (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

The treat came with compliments from the best horns in Nonna, Frannie and Augie Costanzo. Both were excited about the success of the afternoon and enjoyed the feeling of the day – sharing neighborhood treasures and the borough’s unique edibles with the tasting world.

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The “Taste of the Towns” family tasting event brought revelers to Nonna’s in Great Kills to rave reviews. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

Indeed, pizza has served as the mainstay of grubs across the country, from The Pizza Parlor in Annadale and Campania in Eltingville to three parlors in Great Kills – Village Maria, Mimmo’s and Nonna’s. Rather than offering a piece of pie, world-famous Mona Lisa pizza maker Leonardo Giordano offered his popular panelle sandwiches. On each were two lightly breaded and fried chickpea fritters on a soft bun.

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A panelle sandwich with two chickpea fritters on a Mona Lisa bun in Annadale (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

In Great Kills, Anthony Valois served Steak Pizziola in a Sloppy Joe format from his new sandwich shop, Anthony’s Paninoteca. Her mother and sister watched the crowds fill the small display case for grilled sausages with honey and pleasantly cool and creamy fresh ricotta on soft bread.

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The Valois family with chef Anthony Valois, left, in their new shop, Anthony’s Paninoteca in Great Kills. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

Attendees took their curious palates further into the city to Flanagan’s Tavern, Talk of the Town and Top Tomato.

In Annadale, the Sneden Lane district served as a potential first stop for tasters. On the way to the sprawling gardens of Annadale Terrace at the end of the trip, the Annadale Bakery proved to be a particularly pleasant spot.

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Victoria Amodeo and Gabriella Funiciello at Annadale Bakery in Annadale, a stop on the trolley tour. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

As the bakery staff busied themselves with their regular Sunday rush, Annadale Bakery team members Victoria Amodeo and Gabriella Funiciello prepared trays of brownies, donuts, black and white cookies and cannoli for wagon hikers. The treats went down well, especially the apple fondants which, according to one foodie, “just got me in the mood for fall!”

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Vincent Campitiello at Alfonso’s of Amboy Road with free rainbow cookie samples. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

Vincent Campitiello of Alfonso’s on Amboy Road loved the event, something he has enjoyed immensely for five years now.

Campitiello added that he gained loyal customers through the event. He laughed as he recounted his surprise when new fans in the neighborhood said they had “discovered” the bakery, as it has been a thriving center in Eltingville for 28 years.

Highlighting the success of “Taste of the Towns,” Campitiello said, “It’s a fun way to showcase our store and be part of the neighborhood.”

Taste of cities

Diogo Soares mixing coconut mojitos at Taqueria de Sofia in Eltingville (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

Also in Eltingville, Diogo Soares shook coconut mojitos behind the bar as his colleagues set up a serving station outside the restaurant. Other tastes from this town included sliders and wraps from Joyce’s Tavern, penne ala vodka and basil pesto pasta from Gio’s, smoothies from Baya Bar, and craft beer and drinks from Holiday Beverage.

A West Brighton import praised Campania slices and Richmond Republic sliders. She enjoyed the afternoon and joked that walking between places burned some of the calories.

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Savoring the flavors of a summer day with friends: Left to right in front of Joyce’s Tavern in Eltingville, Fran Rainero, Debra Mangiapia and Janet Magnuson (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

Although not a participating location in “Taste of the Towns”, Dough By Licastri’s second location attracted a few hundred people during Sunday on its first day of operation. Partygoers passing by the promenade were treated to gourmet slices by owners Allie Alfonso, Vito Balsamo and Fred D’Ottavio.

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New to the neighborhood: left to right, Dough By Licastri’s Eltingville buddies and business partners, Fred D’Ottavio, Vito Balsamo and Allie Alfonso. This is Dough’s second Staten Island location, a restaurant named after its late owner, Stephen Licastri. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

When the event ended at 5 p.m., Anthony Rapacciuolo announced the “Best Restaurant” pick from the voting revelers. The friendly competition saw Richmond Republic take a landslide victory for their trio of hearty dishes – spring rolls, wings and Reuben beef sliders.

Pamela Silvestri is editor-in-chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at silvestri@siadvance.com.

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Back at the wheel of the New York cart this year is Al Moore, a veteran of the Taste of the Towns event. He has driven food tourists through Great Kills, Eltingville and Annadale to their food destinations. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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At Gio’s in Eltingville with penne ala vodka and pesto pasta (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Friends enjoy Gio’s at the Taste of the Towns Trolley organized by the South Shore BID. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Anthony’s Paninoteca in Great Kills is an unassuming sandwich shop highlighted by the South Shore BID. The tasters were delighted to discover the restaurant. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Dinner in Eltingville (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Left to right: Event organizer Anthony Rappaciuolo, Ellen Icolari of St. George and Mary Bullock of Port Richmond. Attendees came from all over the borough and some from Brooklyn. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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The Baya Bar in Eltingville handed out samples of healthy smoothies and drinks (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Exploring the Great Kills by wagon (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Sofia’s Taqueria setup was colorful in Eltingville and saw tastic shrimp samples for guests (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Each participant received an orange bag. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Joyce’s Tavern sliders were followed by wraps. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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The scene in Eltingville outside Joyce’s Tavern at Taste of the Towns (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Joyce’s Tavern in Eltingville was a first stop for some at South Shore BID’s “Taste of the Towns”. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Dough By Licastri opened in Eltingville on the same day as “Taste of the Towns”. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Fresh bread at Alfonso in Eltingville (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Alfonso d’Amboy Road in Eltingville (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Rainbow cookies at Alfonso in Eltingville (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Asiago artichoke specialty bread at Alfonso’s on Amboy (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Apple fudge at Annadale Bakery, a fall delight embraced by tasters (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Tasty treats from Annadale Bakery (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Check-ins for the trolley have been set up at several locations, including bank parking lots. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Anthony Valois at his sandwich shop (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Village Maria’s terrace provided a nice place to enjoy her delicious free slices. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri

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Crinkle pepperoni at Nonna’s at Great Kills. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)Pamela Silvestri