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Event serves up food to help kids

The Taste of North Texas has become something of a Denton tradition in the last quarter of a century and with good reason — the event encourages residents to help out a good cause and rewards them with samples of items from some of the area’s best restaurants.

It’s tough to go wrong with an event recipe that tempts your taste buds and makes you feel good at the same time.

Planned Thursday at the University of North Texas Coliseum, the Taste of North Texas is conducted by the Denton Kiwanis Club, with proceeds benefiting the Kiwanis Children’s Clinic.

The clinic provides medical and dental care and prescriptions to disadvantaged children in Denton County.

This year will feature many familiar faces — and familiar flavors — because several veterans of past events, including Texas Roadhouse and El Guapo’s, will be back. They will be joined by some new contributors such as Oak Street Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor and East Side Social Club.

“A lot of restaurants have been doing this for 15 or more years,” said Weston Thaggard, co-chairman of the event. “This is our 25th year of doing it, and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Participating restaurants and bars will have tables lined through Gate A at the coliseum beginning at 5:30 p.m., offering a variety of food items and drink specials, all for the price of a ticket, Thaggard said. Tickets are $15 and discounted to $10 if you are a senior, student or member of the military.

The event also provides a great opportunity for participating businesses to show their stuff — often to people who may not have tried their fare before — and awards are presented in categories including best service, best Italian and best barbecue.

Texas Roadhouse has held the latter title for more than 10 years, said William Hoving, the restaurant’s kitchen manager. Hoving told us the event is an opportunity for Texas Roadhouse staff members to interact with community members.

“The thing we love most about the event is getting out into the community and touching base with people outside of the store,” he said. “We’re just very glad we can do something to help our community and reach out ... to people and show them what we’re all about — legendary food, legendary service and having fun.”

Tickets for the event are available online at and at the Kiwanis Club at 1001 N. Elm St., UNT Union Ticket Office, UNT Athletic Ticket Office, Denton Chamber of Commerce and Crouch Realty. Tickets will also be available at the door on Thursday.

We encourage area residents to buy a ticket — the Kiwanis Children’s Clinic is a great community asset and deserves our support.

Plus, this event is a great way to check out a lot of great restaurants — it’s the best way we know to truly get a Taste of North Texas.