By Brandon HENSLEY
The Montrose Shopping Park was a little more crowded than usual Sunday afternoon as patrons were invited to enjoy a little bit of everything local eateries had to offer.
It was the annual Taste of Montrose, held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., giving people a chance to sample food from local restaurants once they paid their $20 fee and were given wristbands.
Proceeds from the event went to CV High School’s Prom Plus organization, which provides a fun, safe after-prom event every year at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA from midnight to 5 a.m.
The Taste of Montrose took place along several blocks of Honolulu Avenue. The event brought out a collection of around 28 restaurants, including Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria, Paradis, Zeke’s, Pasta Preziosa, Giuseppe’s, New Moon and Frank’s Famous.
Businesses that weren’t actually located on Honolulu Avenue had booths set up ready to serve would-be customers. The booths were set up in a circular formation and people simply followed a line reminiscent of an all-you-can-eat buffet.
One of those booths was La Cañada Import Pizza & Deli, owned by Wilton Briscoe. Briscoe said his shop is very popular around town and a lot of that credit goes to the La Crescenta area.
“CV’s been a huge supporter of our business for years,” he said. Briscoe also commented on the benefit it has for Prom Plus.
“You never hear of schools that promote an alcohol-free environment for after prom. Prom is [usually] all about drinking … [Prom Plus] just gives young people something to do that’s all night and fun and positive.”
Leslie Lesh, owner of Leo’s All-Star Sports Bar and Grill, was there and she said the day was another opportunity to make people aware of her business.
“One thing I’ve learned is that you can never stop promoting your business,” she said.
Lesh added that even some who know of her place think it’s just a bar, and therefore don’t venture in.
“Leo’s isn’t just a bar, it’s a sports grill,” she said.
And of course, Lesh was supportive of Prom Plus.
“We always want to give back, and I know that Prom Plus is one of those organizations that, when our kids get older, we still want that to be around,” she said. “We want a place for them to go and be safe and I think it’s a really great non-profit [organization].”
People could be seen walking everywhere, trying new and different foods. Restaurants located in the Shopping Park had blue and white balloons attached to the entrances to let people know it was in on the event.
One of those places was Cucina Rustica, and Pamela Underwood and her group of friends in real estate came out of the place looking satisfied.
“This is like New Orleans. Marti Gras in Montrose,” she said of the event.
Underwood and her friends came out to Taste of Montrose because “we’re eaters. We love to eat.”
But that wasn’t all. Taste of Montrose was in conjunction with Wags and Whiskers and Kids and Kritters being held at the same time where the usual Sunday Harvest Market is.
All kinds of dogs, along with their owners, were out in full force during a dog show sponsored by the Glendale Humane Society. Representatives from the Montrose Pet Hospital were also in attendance to encourage pet adoption. Many young dogs were available for anyone to pet or adopt.
The Montrose Pet Hospital was also there to inform people of the benefits of micro-chipping their dog.
Sierra Westerholm, a technician who works for the hospital, explained that implanting a microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, in a dog goes in-between the animal’s shoulder blades, allowing a more sophisticated way of tracking lost pets.
She said people have come in the hospital with lost dogs and if the dog has a microchip finding the owner isn’t all that hard.
“We scan [the dog] and if they have a microchip, we look up the owner’s information and then they go home. It’s really helpful,” she said.
The new technology is beneficial because, “What if your dog gets out and the collar falls off?” Westerholm said. “Then the dog has no owner, has no information attached to it. This way if they go out if their collar comes off they have an ID that’s always on the dog.”
Does it hurt the dog to have it put in?
“Sometimes they yelp, sometimes they don’t even notice,” she said.
What was noticeable, however, was the large turnout for an eventful day in Montrose.