25th annual Spring Seasonings returns April 8
By Katherine Herer
March 20 may mark the vernal equinox. But April 8 is the date that should be circled on your calendar as the start of spring. It’s the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber’s 25th annual Spring Seasonings: A Taste of our Towns, an unparalleled celebration of the dining scene within Newton, Needham and surrounding communities, presented by Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
For one evening, chefs and owners from 40 area restaurants will gather at the Newton Marriott to showcase their best one or two bite offering to 500+ foodies, community members and business professionals. Local beer and wine shops offer beverage pairings.
With the popularity of the cooking shows, blogs and food festivals – you don’t need to scroll far on social media to find a food-centric event these days. But back in 1994, the idea was relatively new, and Spring Seasonings was one of the region’s first tasting events.
One quarter century later, we’ve doubled down on our focus on community restaurants, striving to create the ultimate celebration of the dining scene in the western suburbs. It’s a scene that’s ever evolving and endlessly exciting. From fine dining to cozy neighborhood pubs to innovative new hot-spots, the ‘burbs have it all, and they are all on display at Spring Seasonings.
“Spring Seasonings is near and dear to my heart,” said Seana Gaherin proprietor of Dunn-Gaherin’s Food & Spirits and one of the event’s founders.“Each year the committee works hard to present to the community gems and jewels in the hospitality industry. Hopefully we will tantalize your taste buds and warm your heart with new friendships.”
Here’s a snapshot:
Let’s start with dessert: Cabot’s Ice Cream and Restaurant is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Newton this year, and I challenge you to find anyone who grew up west of Boston that doesn’t have fond memories sitting at a stool with an ice cream sundae as a kid. Abbott’s Ice Cream and Custard (who recently passed a 10 year milestone in Needham) and Rancatore’s Ice Cream (founded in 1985, but a relative newbie to Newtonville) will also be scooping up frozen delights at the event. Needham’s French Press Bakery and Café, and the brand-new Nothing Bundt Cakes (located on Needham Street) round out our sweet offerings (at least those who’d confirmed at the time of this printing).
Relative newcomers: The James in Needham is already piling up accolades including a spot on The Boston Globe’s“Best New Restaurants” list. Neighboring Cappella Restaurant’s Chef Rob Picardi has spent a lifetime perfecting his family’s Italian culinary traditions. Acclaimed Moldova Restaurant, led by husband and wife team Artur and Sandra Andronic, boasts unique flavors and an authentic culinary journey. Olivia’s Bistro’s classic elegance and top-notch service breathes new life into a cozy Nonantum corner. Michael Baker of Bakers’ Best Catering has been in operation for 30+ years – first as a café in Newton Highlands, and now as a thriving caterer just over the border in Needham. And, The BBQ Don’s Sebastian DeFelice, a self-proclaimed “godfather of brisket” will be among our brand-new participants at the event.
N-Squared hot spots The Biltmore, Spiga Ristorante, Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza and newcomer District 118 all boast expertly crafted menus for lunch, dinner and post-work hangouts. The newly renovated Papa Razzi Trattoria in Wellesley is both a neighborhood fixture and event destination. And Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and Showcase SuperLux headline the powerhouse of dining options at The Street in Chestnut Hill. Finally, Upper Falls Liquors, Bin Ends, Reveler Beverage Co, and Nature Springs will make sure your palette is sufficiently refreshed with beverage pairings throughout the ballroom.
Beyond the food itself, the event affords attendees and restaurateurs alike an opportunity to share stories and develop relationships – something that chamber super-networkers are pros at but chefs are often too busy to do. Chris Osborn, who was one of the founders of the event (while at The Depot in Upper Falls), now owns Better Life Food in Nontanum and will be among the exhibitors at the event. He emphasized how integral Spring Seasonings has been to fostering connections with customers, new and old.
“This event is the perfect venue to meet potential clients and visit with current customers one on one,” said Osborn. “When a customer comes into our place of business, we don’t always get the time to talk to them. Spring Seasonings provides the opportunity for new introductions and exposure.”
The 25th annual Spring Seasonings: A Taste of our Towns will take place Monday April 8 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Newton Marriott (2345 Commonwealth Ave, Newton). The event is presented by Newton-Wellesley Hospital with additional sponsor support from The Street Chestnut Hill, Showcase SuperLux, NBC 10 Boston, The Bulfinch Group, Briarwood Rehabilitation Center, One Wingate Way and The Village Bank. Tickets are on sale now: $55 for members, $65 for nonmembers, $70 the day of the event (if not sold out.) For tickets and more information visit www.springseasonings.com.