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Taste of the town

Saturday afternoon, you can hang with the Goodfellas, join the Harris & Company crew or kick back with your Amigos.

Just be certain to bring your wallet, or else You Do the Dishes.

Those are a few of the restaurants and other food providers that will display their dishes Saturday at the fifth annual Taste of New Tampa. (Another is Taqueria Quetzalcoatl, named after an Aztec god, but try working that into the beginning of an article.)

The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. in the clubhouse parking area of Arbor Greene subdivision on Cross Creek Boulevard, off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, 2 miles north of the I-75 overpass.

Cost is $4 per person or $12 for a family of four, with proceeds going to the PTAs of six schools in the New Tampa area. For the donation, visitors can try samples from 14 restaurants and two groceries, most of them in New Tampa.

Joining the above, New Tampa-area participants are Ultimate Bagel and Sandwich Shop; Baci Italian Grill; Spanky's BBQ; and Six Pockets, the last an established billiards club that will provide wings and wine. Taqueria Quetzalcoatl, a renowned Mexican restaurant with locations in Ybor City and Hyde Park, has a site in New Tampa opening soon, organizers said.

Also included are Shells, Taipei House, Rio Bravo, Caffe Firenze, Saddlebrook Country Club and Publix and Winn-Dixie supermarkets.

The event will have exhibits from more than 50 business and associations, ranging from Royal Limousine Service Inc. to Ujena Swimwear. (The Times also has a booth.)

Organizers are hoping for another big turnout. Attendance has increased every year, despite the 1997 event being rained out and rescheduled a few weeks later.

Even the rain date was rained on, event director Todd Wiener said, but the event still attracted more than 3,000 participants.

"I have great hopes," he said. "We've done better and better every year. We're hoping for a $1,000 to $2,000 donation to each of the PTAs."

Last year, Taste of New Tampa brought in more than $6,000 in revenue, but the profits took a hit because of the additional overhead from the rescheduling, Wiener said.

But if all goes well, the restaurants and businesses get the attention of potential customers, Arbor Greene gets a look from potential residents, everyone gets a chance to eat well and cheap, and the PTAs get some needed help.

"There are a lot of different (restaurants) this year, which makes it interesting," said Nancy Lanno, who repeats as one of the restaurant coordinators. "And I'm very excited about the location, it's just beautiful. I'm really happy with it."

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