Getting a Taste of Peoria

By WEEK Reporter

August 10, 2011 Updated Aug 10, 2011 at 10:13 PM CDT

Wednesday night's weather and area restaurants brought people out in droves to the 30th Taste of Peoria on the Riverfront.

Of the 33 local vendors at the Taste of Peoria, nearly a quarter of them were new to the event. Beignet's on the Corner made a successful debut with their Cajun and Creole recipes and their namesake item, the Beignet.

"The pastry. That's our signature dessert. And we also have our red beans and rice which seems to be our most popular item," said Teresa Johnson.

For those who didn't want venture into unknown territory, there was last year's champion pork dish from Gracie's Sports Grill and Pizza in Washington. Gracie's sold out of their more than 375 Bacon Wrapped Pork Wings in the first three hours.

"You can wrap bacon around anything and it makes it great, but the pork is so tender, it's like the most tender riblet you ever had," said Greg Wilson. "We put honey bourbon on it, but we make our own. It's fantastic."

About 22,000 people were expected to come out to the Taste of Peoria, but the crowd probably far exceeded that number thanks to a break in the heat, great food and live music throughout the night.

"Just hanging out with the family, man. I got my girlfriend and her kid," said Taste of Peoria attendee Michael Trower. " We're just drinking some beer, hanging out with some friends and having a good time."

"I've only drank. I really haven't tried anything but the brisket at Retro American Tap," said another attendee Amanda Graves.

Peoria Area Community Events, or PACE, organized the Taste of Peoria and they may have a hard time keeping up with themselves after the success of this year's honor roll of Peoria area restaurants.

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