A Taste of Glynn returns in January

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Dec. 7—Tickets for January's A Taste of Glynn — proceeds benefiting the Glynn Community Crisis Center and Amity House — are on sale now. Attendees will be able to partake in a broad array of the tastes local restaurants offer from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 15 at the the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island.

This year, the restaurants participating are Bubba Garcia's Mexican Cantina, Del Sur, ECHO, Harris Teeter, Oaks on the River, Savannah Bee Company, The Cloister, Sago at Sea Palms, Smallcakes, South of Heaven BBQ, The Village Oven, Wee Pub Beach and Wolf Island Oyster Co. The food will be complemented by music performances by Michael Hulett, Monique Cothern and Bill Lukitsch.

Glynn Community Crisis Center offers a range of counseling services and assistance for victims of domestic violence and their children. It operates Amity House, a shelter for victims who have nowhere else to go.

A Taste of Glynn is the largest single fundraising source for the center. Money raised there doesn't have the conditions that often come with grant funds.

While the food is top-class, Crisis Center Executive Director Dottie Bromley said A Taste of Glynn is not really a high society event. Instead, the committee tries to curate a very laid-back atmosphere.

"Our attendees do everything from dressing up in nice clothes to shorts. We want our supporters to have fun and enjoy the evening," Bromley told The News.

For the center, it's a successful event if it raises enough money for a month's operating expenses. A Taste of Glynn has, since its inception, been successful every year. It's a boon for the center, which gets a substantial amount of revenue from the generosity of the community.

"Domestic violence is ugly. We don't have cute little kids and puppies to parade to raise money," Bromley said. "... We're trying to be honest about what we do without smearing the ugliness in your face."

For the restaurants that participate, it's a chance to get their food in front of a different audience or test-run new dishes. While he didn't want to say exactly what would be on the plate, South of Heaven BBQ's Judd Foster said attendees can expect to see some of the restaurant's more successful foods on display at A Taste of Glynn.

Next year's A Taste of Glynn is the first for South of Heaven — known for its eclectic selection of fusion foods, from tacos to ramen to more traditional fare. Come Jan. 15, those familiar with the joint's Emotional Support Taco Tuesday should be quite pleased.

"We've always had a blast, lots of great food," Foster said. "You can't beat the ambiance of the King and Prince."

He got married to his wife and business partner, Kate at the King and Prince. She basically grew up there, Foster said, so for them, it's always a pleasure to return.

For Chuck Schall, one of the owners of Wee Pub Beach, this will be far from the first go-round at A Taste of Glynn. He was a little cagier about what his team will be cooking up.

"We try to mix up our main (dish), but we always provide our fan-favorite pecan bread pudding," Schall said.

While the pub's new chef will be coming up with the main dish, that pudding has won the People's Choice Award in the dessert category five years running, and the team will naturally be gunning for a sixth win.

"If it's not broken, don't fix it," Schall said.

Of course, it's not just about the food. Both Schall and Foster fully support Glynn Community Crisis Center's mission.

"It's why we spend thousands of dollars every year to give away free food, so places like Amity House can be around," Schall said.

South of Heaven may be participating for the first time, but the Fosters have gone to the event as attendees plenty of times to support the center's cause.

"Obviously, programs like this are needed, and they get overlooked a lot because it's an ugly truth people don't like to talk about," Judd Foster said. "We're thankful there are events like this to bring awareness to people in crisis."

All revenue goes to support the center's mission, as volunteers run "every inch" of A Taste of Glynn, Bromley said. They arrange silent auction items, contact restaurants to participate, staff the panel of secret judges and handle the money.

"The restaurants come out of pocket for their time and money for their meals, the silent auction materials are donated, the volunteers donate their time, my board also donates all their time. Our cash sponsors and in-kind sponsors are out there for the cause," Bromley said.

The King and Prince provides the space for free support the center's mission, and also to give a venue in which the area's diverse tastes can shine, said Dennis Riley, director of food and beverage for the resort.

"Their operation and efforts are crucial, if not vital to our community," Riley said. "We are grateful to play a small role in support of their worthy mission."