Taste of the Arts event is Thursday

Downtown restaurants host Taste of the Arts fundraiser for Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and The Maryland Theatre

May 12, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • Bulls & Bears Restaurant and Pub plans to serve this Buffalo chicken dip during Taste of the Arts, which is Thursday, May 13, throughout downtown Hagerstown. The recipe is below.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer,

On Thursday, May, 13, foodies can get a taste of Germany, Central America, Afghanistan and India without leaving downtown Hagerstown.

The cost for the ticket? $20.

The City of Hagerstown and the Downtown Alliance - a group of downtown restaurateurs - are hosting "Taste of the Arts" to raise money for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and The Maryland Theatre with the ultimate goal of calling attention to business in the city's Arts and Entertainment district, said event spokeswoman Francine Donachie.

For the ticket price, diners can sample food from 12 restaurants within a two-block perimeter of Hagerstown's Public Square.

Offerings include Punjabi-style Indian food, Bavarian cuisine, American pub fare and tastes from the Middle East and Latin America.

Bulls & Bears Restaurant and Pub, one of the participating venues, plans to offer a Buffalo chicken dip as an appetizer and hadn't settled on its entree as of late Monday, said general manager Trista Kruse.


Kruse and line chef Brandon Rice were willing to share the Buffalo chicken dip recipe with Herald-Mail readers. The ingredients are as simple as the instructions. They insist that if you can blend, stir and bake, you can execute this recipe.

The ingredients call for cream cheese mixed with shredded Monterey jack and blue cheese crumbles, blended in a food processor with hot sauce and ranch dressing. Cubed chicken is hand-folded into the dip just before it's baked.

Chef Rice served the dish with floured tortilla chips, but said you can serve it with bread, as well.

Donachie said Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation and The Maryland Theatre will split the proceeds from the event.

Nearing the end of its inaugural year, Barbara Ingram is a public school that combines preprofessional training in the arts with academic training. Principal Michael Thorsen said money raised at Taste would go toward school supplies.

"There's always film, paint, instruments - things we use quite a bit of," Thorsen said.

He said student talent would be featured at each of the restaurants - in the form of live dancing, singing and performing or visual arts. Barbara Ingram's orchestra will perform at 8 p.m. at Bridge of Life Church.

The school - who's mascot is the Phantom - has also planned to hold what Thorsen has been calling the Phantom Flash Project (billed on program and fliers as the Big Shot Project) where attendees can "paint" the Barbara Ingram School's building with light from flashlights or glowing cell phones. The school's photo department plans to incorporate the lighting effect while photographing the building, Thorsen said.

The Downtown Alliance is a group of downtown restaurateurs whose intentions are to attract people and businesses downtown.

Not all restaurants participating in Taste are part of the alliance.

"It's hard to be a private restaurant owner," said Donachie, who's a member of the alliance and is the corporate director for sales and marketing for Bowman Hospitality and Convenience, the company that owns Bulls & Bears.

Laila's Kitchen on Franklin Street - which is not part of the alliance - plans to serve a variety of meat and vegetable kabobs during Taste, said Sharif Basharyar, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Laila Basharyar.

Laila's Kitchen serves food from the Middle East, Central Asia and Afghanistan. Thursday, the restaurant may also offer chapli kabobs, a spicy ground beef dish made of ground meat.

Basharyar said Laila's Kitchen had a robust afternoon crowd of downtown workers and a steady stream of Afghan food fans. He said being an independent restaurant requires a lot of work.

"We have two people in the back - my wife and myself," Basharyar said on a late Monday morning, not too long after receiving a 20-person order that was due in about hour.

"You have to carry the bulk of the load on your shoulders," Basharyar said.

For Taste, Basharyar said success would be drawing more people to downtown, "regardless of where they go, what they end up eating."

If you go ...

WHAT: Taste of the Arts, a fundraiser for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and The Maryland Theatre

WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 13.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts' orchestra will perform at 8 p.m. at Bridge of Life Church, 14 S. Potomac St.

WHERE: Downtown Hagerstown. Various locations, though mainly restaurants along Potomac, Franklin and Washington streets, within walking distance of Public Square.

COST: Tickets cost $20, plus a $3 mailing fee and $4 Internet charge.

Ticketholders can sample food at the 12 participating restaurants and attend the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts orchestra concert at Bridge of Life Church.

MORE: Organizers strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

CONTACT: Tickets are available from The Maryland Theatre by phone 301-790-2000, at the theater's box office, 21 S. Potomac St., or online at

Participating restaurants

o AVA | 28 S. Potomac St., basement lounge. Lounge in the basement of Taj India

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