Taste Of Kosciusko Lets Public Sample A Variety Of Local Eateries

September 15, 2023 at 9:43 p.m.
Mary Srun, with Lady Apsara Takeout, saw their samples disappear within the first hour of Taste of Kosciusko Friday at Third Friday downtown Warsaw. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Mary Srun, with Lady Apsara Takeout, saw their samples disappear within the first hour of Taste of Kosciusko Friday at Third Friday downtown Warsaw. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

By DAVID L. SLONE Managing Editor

Local eateries you know and some you may not have heard of yet had samples at Third Friday downtown Warsaw Friday for the annual “Taste of Kosciusko” event.
There was Texas Roadhouse, Ritter’s and Shigs in Pit Barbecue, but also Lady Apsara Takeout, La Pasadita and Ledgeview Brewing Co.
Main Street Warsaw Executive Director Rob Parker said he started Taste of Kosciusko when he first became the president and CEO of the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
“We used to have them out at the Winona Heritage Room, back then it was Rodeheaver. So we would do a Saturday event and it would go through the day and it was just a really awesome time. But we thought, ‘Let’s get outside. It’s September. What a great time. It’s beautiful.’ So we’ve been doing it outside on First or Third Fridays since 2019,” he recalled.
He estimated they had over 1,500 people attend Taste of Kosciusko in 2023. This year, they had about twice as many vendors than last year.
“A really good turnout. Really good food,” Parker said.
Businesses brought their food truck or tent to the event and sell out of there a sample of what they offer.

    Chris Williams (R), head chef at La Pasadita, makes chicken and steak tacos on the grill at Taste of Kosciusko Friday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
“So the sample is what we’re trying to get people to experience ... and experience lots of them so you know which ones you want to go back to and try again and again and again, so you don’t have to buy a big meal and then you’re like, ‘Oh, man, I’m really disappointed in my big meal,’ OR ‘Oh, man, this is the best meal I’ve ever had’ but you didn’t get to taste all the other great meals that are out here,” Parker explained. “So it’s really about giving people an opportunity to experience something, lowering the risk to experience something new.”
Not everybody may go to a Thai or an Indian or a Vietnamese restaurant, but Taste of Kosciusko gives people an opportunity to try something new and have a good time doing it, he said.
If people wanted to try the samples, they purchased tickets at the Main Street Warsaw tent. They then take those tickets to the vendors to purchase various samples. Samples could cost one, two or up to five tickets.
“It’s been a great event and people seem to really love it and the weather is absolutely perfect,” Parker stated.
Jennifer Flores, catering supervisor with Shigs in Pit Barbecue, said their sample was their Shigs in Pit Mac Attack. It comes with their green chilli mac & cheese, pulled pork on top and then cornbread crumbles. They also had barbecue sauce.
“It is one of our favorites,” she said.
    Kelly Walker, owner of A Better Way: Gluten and Dairy Sensitive Eats, displays the delicious gluten- and dairy-free treats she brought to Taste of Kosciusko at Third Friday downtown Warsaw. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

Shigs In Pit is owned by Mad Anthony’s Brewing Co., a known staple to Warsaw, Flores said. “But we just love bringing our food out to the public.”
Kat Nava, manager at the Crazy Egg Café and Coffee Bar, said they brought their hometown mac & cheese and the Crazy Egg mocha, which is a white mocha with carmel drizzle; and a warm chider, which is apple cider and chai.
“The Crazy Egg mocha is like our signature mocha at the coffee bar, and the mac & cheese is one of the customer favorites, and the chider is one of the seasonal things that we do,” she said.
Nava said Crazy Egg Café wanted to participate in Taste of Kosciusko because “we love the community and we want to participate more in the community, and we just want to be involved.”
Mary Srun, with Lady Apsara Takeout, said they serve Cambodian and Vietnamese. They are catty-corner of Arby’s between Jimmy John’s and Aaron’s at 2043 N. Detroit St., along with Oasis Café.
“What we brought today are the pork egg rolls. They’re two tickets for a sample. And then we also have our lunchbox, which is our Banh Mi lunchbox, and it comes with pork and two pork egg rolls,” she said.
Lady Apsara Takeout opened about a month ago.
“I was selling outside, and now I’ve moved inside,” she said.
She decided to take part in Third Friday’s Taste of Kosciusko to get the word out about her new business.
“It’s more of a takeout place. It’s a small building, small little shop. I do have seating in there, but it’s more of a takeout. Order to go, made-to-order dishes,” she explained.
People can message or call ahead at 574-202-0767 and Srun will make your order. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays.
Chris Williams, head chef at La Pasadita, offered chicken and steak tacos, freshly made on the grill. La Pasadita is a Mexican restaurant located on North Detroit Street.
“It’s a small family (restaurant) and we all get along and it’s a good business. We’re for the people, just trying to serve the people the best food we can,” he said.
Ledgeview owner Craig McLaren said they brought their pretzel to Third Friday, along with beer mustard, pimento cheese and spicy queso sauce.
“It’s just easy street food. You can eat it with both hands and you don’t make too much of a mess. But we also have our chili as well. The chilli is really good - not too spicy and I really like it,” he said.
Ledgeview, 975 Warren St., Warsaw, is proud to be local, he said. “We love it here in Warsaw. We make all of our beer on property and we’re about 95% scratch kitchen. We don’t make the buns and the fries, but everything else we make from scratch.”
Rodney Espinoza, local store marketer for Texas Roadhouse, said they’re going into their fourth year in Warsaw now. To Friday’s event, they brought their freshly flavored pulled pork, fresh-made chilli, fresh-baked bread and the honey cinnamon butter they’re known for.
“We’re trying to give you the best bang for your buck,” he said before plugging Texas Roadhouse’s VIP Group. “So you can get on there, order to go, get on the wait list to skip the wait. So we’re trying to get people to sign up for that because that’s always the worst part of coming there - the wait. Everything else is always amazing!”
There is no cost to join Texas Roadhouse’s VIP Group. Every year on your birthday, you get a free appetizer. Every year on your one-year anniversary of signing up, you get a free appetizer. And then throughout the year on the big holidays, VIP members will get free stuff, he said, as a way to thank them for being a part of the community.
People also can sign up for the group on TexasRoadhouse.com under “Warsaw.”
    Rodney Espinoza (R), local store marketer for Texas Roadhouse, poses for a photo with Texas Roadhouse managing partner Brandon Anderson (L) at Taste of Kosciusko Friday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

Kelly Walker, owner of A Better Way: Gluten and Dairy Sensitive Eats, said she doesn’t cook her food with any gluten, dairy, artifical food coloring, MSG and some other chemicals. It’s healthier cooking overall and food for people that mainly can’t have gluten and dairy. She’s been in business since May.
“My goal is to provide a wide array of foods for people that can not eat gluten and dairy. So I like to provide cupcakes, cakes, cookies, bakery items, breadsticks, breads, breakfast sandwiches. I’m going to eventually plan on moving into dinners,” she said.
She is home-based so she works out of her home under the cottage food laws in Indiana. She does personal orders where people order items, pay her and then pick up their items at her residence. She also sells items at the farmers market in Winona Lake every other week.
Currently, she can only be found on Facebook or at the farmers market.
For Taste of Kosciusko, she brought with her chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that’s egg free, a signature chocolate chip and a blueberry delight.
“I get a lot of compliments on all of these, even from people who do not eat this way. And my breakfast sandwiches are one of my best sellers at the market at Winona because I’ll get people that are not even gluten-free and they’ll come to get my sandwiches there. I homemake all my stuff - all my rolls, all my buns, everything,” Walker stated.

Local eateries you know and some you may not have heard of yet had samples at Third Friday downtown Warsaw Friday for the annual “Taste of Kosciusko” event.
There was Texas Roadhouse, Ritter’s and Shigs in Pit Barbecue, but also Lady Apsara Takeout, La Pasadita and Ledgeview Brewing Co.
Main Street Warsaw Executive Director Rob Parker said he started Taste of Kosciusko when he first became the president and CEO of the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
“We used to have them out at the Winona Heritage Room, back then it was Rodeheaver. So we would do a Saturday event and it would go through the day and it was just a really awesome time. But we thought, ‘Let’s get outside. It’s September. What a great time. It’s beautiful.’ So we’ve been doing it outside on First or Third Fridays since 2019,” he recalled.
He estimated they had over 1,500 people attend Taste of Kosciusko in 2023. This year, they had about twice as many vendors than last year.
“A really good turnout. Really good food,” Parker said.
Businesses brought their food truck or tent to the event and sell out of there a sample of what they offer.

    Chris Williams (R), head chef at La Pasadita, makes chicken and steak tacos on the grill at Taste of Kosciusko Friday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
“So the sample is what we’re trying to get people to experience ... and experience lots of them so you know which ones you want to go back to and try again and again and again, so you don’t have to buy a big meal and then you’re like, ‘Oh, man, I’m really disappointed in my big meal,’ OR ‘Oh, man, this is the best meal I’ve ever had’ but you didn’t get to taste all the other great meals that are out here,” Parker explained. “So it’s really about giving people an opportunity to experience something, lowering the risk to experience something new.”
Not everybody may go to a Thai or an Indian or a Vietnamese restaurant, but Taste of Kosciusko gives people an opportunity to try something new and have a good time doing it, he said.
If people wanted to try the samples, they purchased tickets at the Main Street Warsaw tent. They then take those tickets to the vendors to purchase various samples. Samples could cost one, two or up to five tickets.
“It’s been a great event and people seem to really love it and the weather is absolutely perfect,” Parker stated.
Jennifer Flores, catering supervisor with Shigs in Pit Barbecue, said their sample was their Shigs in Pit Mac Attack. It comes with their green chilli mac & cheese, pulled pork on top and then cornbread crumbles. They also had barbecue sauce.
“It is one of our favorites,” she said.
    Kelly Walker, owner of A Better Way: Gluten and Dairy Sensitive Eats, displays the delicious gluten- and dairy-free treats she brought to Taste of Kosciusko at Third Friday downtown Warsaw. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

Shigs In Pit is owned by Mad Anthony’s Brewing Co., a known staple to Warsaw, Flores said. “But we just love bringing our food out to the public.”
Kat Nava, manager at the Crazy Egg Café and Coffee Bar, said they brought their hometown mac & cheese and the Crazy Egg mocha, which is a white mocha with carmel drizzle; and a warm chider, which is apple cider and chai.
“The Crazy Egg mocha is like our signature mocha at the coffee bar, and the mac & cheese is one of the customer favorites, and the chider is one of the seasonal things that we do,” she said.
Nava said Crazy Egg Café wanted to participate in Taste of Kosciusko because “we love the community and we want to participate more in the community, and we just want to be involved.”
Mary Srun, with Lady Apsara Takeout, said they serve Cambodian and Vietnamese. They are catty-corner of Arby’s between Jimmy John’s and Aaron’s at 2043 N. Detroit St., along with Oasis Café.
“What we brought today are the pork egg rolls. They’re two tickets for a sample. And then we also have our lunchbox, which is our Banh Mi lunchbox, and it comes with pork and two pork egg rolls,” she said.
Lady Apsara Takeout opened about a month ago.
“I was selling outside, and now I’ve moved inside,” she said.
She decided to take part in Third Friday’s Taste of Kosciusko to get the word out about her new business.
“It’s more of a takeout place. It’s a small building, small little shop. I do have seating in there, but it’s more of a takeout. Order to go, made-to-order dishes,” she explained.
People can message or call ahead at 574-202-0767 and Srun will make your order. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays.
Chris Williams, head chef at La Pasadita, offered chicken and steak tacos, freshly made on the grill. La Pasadita is a Mexican restaurant located on North Detroit Street.
“It’s a small family (restaurant) and we all get along and it’s a good business. We’re for the people, just trying to serve the people the best food we can,” he said.
Ledgeview owner Craig McLaren said they brought their pretzel to Third Friday, along with beer mustard, pimento cheese and spicy queso sauce.
“It’s just easy street food. You can eat it with both hands and you don’t make too much of a mess. But we also have our chili as well. The chilli is really good - not too spicy and I really like it,” he said.
Ledgeview, 975 Warren St., Warsaw, is proud to be local, he said. “We love it here in Warsaw. We make all of our beer on property and we’re about 95% scratch kitchen. We don’t make the buns and the fries, but everything else we make from scratch.”
Rodney Espinoza, local store marketer for Texas Roadhouse, said they’re going into their fourth year in Warsaw now. To Friday’s event, they brought their freshly flavored pulled pork, fresh-made chilli, fresh-baked bread and the honey cinnamon butter they’re known for.
“We’re trying to give you the best bang for your buck,” he said before plugging Texas Roadhouse’s VIP Group. “So you can get on there, order to go, get on the wait list to skip the wait. So we’re trying to get people to sign up for that because that’s always the worst part of coming there - the wait. Everything else is always amazing!”
There is no cost to join Texas Roadhouse’s VIP Group. Every year on your birthday, you get a free appetizer. Every year on your one-year anniversary of signing up, you get a free appetizer. And then throughout the year on the big holidays, VIP members will get free stuff, he said, as a way to thank them for being a part of the community.
People also can sign up for the group on TexasRoadhouse.com under “Warsaw.”
    Rodney Espinoza (R), local store marketer for Texas Roadhouse, poses for a photo with Texas Roadhouse managing partner Brandon Anderson (L) at Taste of Kosciusko Friday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

Kelly Walker, owner of A Better Way: Gluten and Dairy Sensitive Eats, said she doesn’t cook her food with any gluten, dairy, artifical food coloring, MSG and some other chemicals. It’s healthier cooking overall and food for people that mainly can’t have gluten and dairy. She’s been in business since May.
“My goal is to provide a wide array of foods for people that can not eat gluten and dairy. So I like to provide cupcakes, cakes, cookies, bakery items, breadsticks, breads, breakfast sandwiches. I’m going to eventually plan on moving into dinners,” she said.
She is home-based so she works out of her home under the cottage food laws in Indiana. She does personal orders where people order items, pay her and then pick up their items at her residence. She also sells items at the farmers market in Winona Lake every other week.
Currently, she can only be found on Facebook or at the farmers market.
For Taste of Kosciusko, she brought with her chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that’s egg free, a signature chocolate chip and a blueberry delight.
“I get a lot of compliments on all of these, even from people who do not eat this way. And my breakfast sandwiches are one of my best sellers at the market at Winona because I’ll get people that are not even gluten-free and they’ll come to get my sandwiches there. I homemake all my stuff - all my rolls, all my buns, everything,” Walker stated.

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