A new food-filled event will make life in Murrells Inlet a whole lot tastier this weekend.
Murrells Inlet 2020 is hosting the first Taste of the Inlet event Sunday, Jan. 27, offering locals a chance to sample area restaurants and savor resident favorites. The event, held in Inlet Square Mall, will benefit the nonprofit group and include food from 27 local eateries.
“We were overwhelmed with how fast and furious the tickets sold,” said Sue Sledz, executive director. “So I don’t know if we have a perfect storm, that it’s a good time of year, if it’s the right event, or there’s nothing else cooking, but it’s going to be big event.”
Murrells Inlet 2020 works to promote infrastructure improvements and beautification to Murrells Inlet, which includes environmental education, redevelopment of core commercial district and promote wetland conservation and preservation methods, according to the group’s website.
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The goal for this event was to sell 500 tickets, but community enthusiasm and a love of food pushed sales to about 750 tickets, Sledz said.
“We so much appreciate the local community support,” Sledz said. “The restaurants have been absolutely fantastic.”
Since 2005, the group held the Murrells Inlet Gala which included a smaller, but similar Taste event. The attendees seemed to enjoy the food, which led the group to create an event just for the food-loving crowd, according to Sledz.
“Everybody always, always raved about how wonderful the food was,” Sledz said.
Eateries are getting in on the already successful event, including David Parker, owner of Twelve in Murrells Inlet.
“It’s a chance for me,” said Parker. “I wanted to get to know my local clientele. I can see this moving from inside the Inlet mall to the parking lot in the next 3-5 years.”
The event will provide a way for restaurants to pass out menus, meet the clientele, and promote business without breaking the bank.
“Instead of spending money on press, radio, TV ads, I know it’s a lot better to just go out and meet people,” Parker said.
Parker plans on cooking up black and yellow fin tuna for the sampling, topping the dish with the restaurant’s robust soy mustard sauce.
Community participation is a key phrase among participating restaurateurs. Russell Greene, manager of Capt. Dave’s Dock Side, chose to participate in the Taste to benefit local fundraisers.
“Anything that promotes the area is good; especially for the local restaurants that are perceived as tourists places, locals will learn we are open and offering good value for locals,” Greene said.
Advertisement is key, too.
“And this is a good way to get your name out there,” Greene said. “As far as the event goes, it’s relatively new, but for most people from up and down the beach it’s a chance for them to come in and sample some the restaurants and what they have to offer.”
Murrells Inlet 2020 chose the mall for it’s indoor facility and ability to host a large crowd.
“The mall has been so gracious to allow us to invade their property because there’s no other indoor facility,” Sledz said.
Sledz said the community is buzzing with excitement.
“The taste has become the talk of our little town,” Sledz said. “This is our first event, and we wanted to make sure it’s a quality event. We want to make sure we do it right the first time so people come back a second time.”
The profits will go toward Murrells Inlet 2020 community projects.