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Monticello Rotary offers a Taste of Sullivan

Vincent Kurzrock
Posted 4/16/24

The Monticello Rotary Club held their inaugural Taste of Sullivan event in the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse at SUNY Sullivan on April 9.

The event, which was a collaboration between the Rotary and the …

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Monticello Rotary offers a Taste of Sullivan


The Monticello Rotary Club held their inaugural Taste of Sullivan event in the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse at SUNY Sullivan on April 9.

The event, which was a collaboration between the Rotary and the college, was held to benefit the Federation for the Homeless.

At least 17 Sullivan County restaurants, distilleries and food distributors were present to offer serving samples of their culinary prowesses.

“We believe that, as members of the Monticello Rotary, and as a member of the Chamber of Commerce that we need to promote Sullivan County,” said Lori Orestano-James, the president-elect of the Rotary Club in Monticello.“We said “people don’t necessarily go to all of the restaurants or know of all the restaurants in Sullivan County” that we wanted to give people the opportunity to have a tasting and maybe see what a menu looks like or have a talk with the owners.”

Orestano-James is especially excited because the SUNY Sullivan Culinary Students would have the opportunity to go and network with restaurants.

“We brought it back knowing there is a desperate need in our community with the Federation for the Homeless, we decided that we were going to do this event to benefit them,” she explained. “We feel that if we’re doing a food event, who better to couple with than that.”

The event also featured 32 different raffles from which tickets could be purchased for samples from the local eateries, distilleries and similar vendors.

The tables at the event had centerpieces designed by the Tri-Valley High School FFA and Floral Design Class. These centerpieces were designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Monticello Rotary Club. The light in these centerpieces is meant to represent the light that the Rotary’s shines on the community.

Each of the vendors got a plaque which was the Rotary Taste of Sullivan Spoon which was designed by students at the Tech Program at Livingston Manor High School.

“We really involved kids, we involved the community as far as businesses. We involved people coming and being able to, thank goodness after Covid, come to such a wonderful location,” said Orestano-James. “[We also] involved Workforce Development in making sure we have the College involved as well.”

Orestano-James emphasized that that’s what occurred during Covid; everyone helped each other and they still help each other.

“The message is come and enjoy. See the restaurants that are right in our own backyard. Come and support these restaurants, they’re giving back to the community in this way, go and support them,” she said.

“I am just so grateful that the community is so supportive of what we’re doing. Helen Diehl is the person who really put this together. This has been a labor of love for all of us from everyone around the community and just everyone coming together to make this a very special night.”

“This whole concept of the event was envisioned and planned four years ago before the pandemic,” recalled Diehl, Chairperson of the Event. “The original date was going to be March 27 of 2020 and obviously we had tickets and ads sold and everything had to stop. so we kept that revenue.”

Some featured restaurants included:

Creek House Grill


The DeBruce/Foster
Supply Hospitality


El Sombrero


Jeffersonville Bake Shop


Joe Taylor’s Catering


Kasos Greek restaurants


La Salumina


Milk & Honey Catskills


Organic World US


Pasta D’Oro


The Red Dot


Savory Sweet Eatery


Seminary Hill Cider


SUNY Sullivan Culinary Students


Tavern on Main


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