Getting a taste of Chamblee

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For more than four hours on Oct. 7, downtown Chamblee transformed into a crossroads of taste, culture and community as the city hosted the 10th annual Taste of Chamblee event.

More than 20 food vendors, community organizations and government agencies lined Broad Street, offering samples, information and swag to intrigued passers-by. At two locations, giant LED screens played college football games aside beer gardens hosted by Vintage Pizzeria and Hopstix.

Other restaurants participating at this year’s event included BlueTop, The Frosty Caboose, Galla’s Pizza, Gullah on the Go, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, The Halal Guys, Hello Gorgeous Boutique & Café, Hopes Salsa, JARDI Chocolates, The Mad Italian, PONKO Chicken, Shane’s Rib Shack, Snobia’s Vegan Baked Goods, TaKorea and Zoe’s Kitchen.

Each year, tickets are sold for $1 each to redeem at booths set up by each restaurant or organization. Costs for samples ranged from one to seven tickets.

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Snobia’s Vegan Baked Goods provided samples of sweet potato and chocolate cake muffins as well as cookies to attendees.

This was the second year chocolatiers Jocelyn and Jacob Gragg of JARDI Chocolates participated in the event.

“I really love the city of Chamblee,” Jocelyn Gragg said. “We decided to open the business here because the city was just so welcoming and made us feel that they wanted our business. Any issue we’ve had, they’ve been almost overly helpful.”

Gragg said JARDI Chocolates is primarily run through Uber Eats as a delivered service, so the foot traffic at events such as Taste of Chamblee offers a chance to expand the client base. On Oct. 7, the public was provided samples of Gragg’s signature chocolates—whiskey pecan, hazelnut crunch and peanut caramel—as well as buying options for chocolate bars, boxes and other items.

“A lot of people will just call us and ask if they can stop by for chocolate,” Gragg said. “Most people doing chocolate in Atlanta are doing bean to bar, meaning they buy cacao and make chocolate. We’re buying chocolate from France, Ecuador and Peru, making the fillings and hand-painting them with edible derivatives from dyes—no additives, no preservatives and no artificial flavors.”

A newcomer to the event was Snobia’s Vegan Baked Goods and Hopes Salsa.

Snobia offered sweet potato and chocolate cake muffins as well as chocolate cookies to guests. Snobia’s operates out of a baking co-operative kitchen in Decatur.

Hopes Salsa—a two-man operation based in Atlanta—provided chips and salsa to guests as a sample. Attendees also had the option to purchase jars of salsa verde.

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Two-man operation Hopes Salsa provided guests with samples as well as opportunities to take home jars of salsa verde.

Vintage Pizzeria, which has been represented at every Taste of Chamblee event, provided spirits, pizza pies and calamari to patrons. Bryan Wetzel and Rosa Diaz said Vintage has offered New Jersey-style pizza to Chamblee residents for more than 10 years.

“Our location is actually right behind us [on Broad Street],” Wetzel said. “We love the exposure. A lot of people don’t know where we are even though we’re right here.”

Other participating organizations included City of Chamblee, Discover DeKalb, Chamblee Charter High School Booster Club, Chamblee Lion’s Club, the Asian-American Leo Club, Jim Ellis Nissan, Dynamo Swim Club and Chamblee History Project.

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