Restaurant owners looking forward to annual tasting event

Courtesy Photo.

The 12th annual Taste of San Diego East, happening Monday, Aug. 30, will include food samples from dozens of culinarians, vendor giveaways, a silent auction and the opportunity to win a raffle prize.

However, the most significant feature of the event, said La Mesa Chamber of Commerce President Mary England, is being able to hold the event in person.

“We could not hold this event throughout the pandemic and more than ever we wanted to produce the 2021 Taste of San Diego East for many reasons. Never before have our restaurants, caterers and food industry been faced with the challenges that they have faced throughout the past year. They all are jugglers with a different ball in the air at different times and in the balance is their livelihood and future,” England said.

Although the event was held at the La Mesa Community Center for the first 10 years, it moved in 2019 to the Mission Valley Town and Country hotel in a “leap of faith” that annual attendees would follow the food.

“Now we are ready to hold the event again in 2021 and take a leap of faith to promote our restaurants and the food industry, as we all begin to recover from the pandemic,” England said.

Dining and eating are social activities, England said, and bringing restaurant owners together in one room makes for an uplifting experience.

Besides giving restaurant owners an opportunity to showcase their food items, “people forget their cares of the day, see friends that they have missed along with meeting new people, all while savoring great food, mixing and mingling,” England said.

La Mesa Dream Dinners Owner and Manager Marsi Haney said she has attended  a few events like this since the pandemic and found that people love being out again. As a business owner, she also said she enjoys reaching out to the community with public tasting events.

“People seem to love socializing with other people, seeing them face to face, with or without masks. I enjoy talking with other business owners, learning about their challenges, their businesses, uncovering ways in which we can work together to help support each other,” Haney said.

West Coast Smoke and Tap House Owner Christina Blake also said they’re really excited to participate in community events like Taste of San Diego East again.

“Catering orders really helped us stay open but we’re ready to get out and attend events again, especially getting back into the La Mesa Chamber events. This one is such a fun event with a lot of community members present,” Blake said.

Tickets range from $40 to $60 for the event, open to anyone 21 or older.

Visit for a full list of vendors to date and other information.