When more than 50 southeast Texas restaurant and beverage companies serve up tastes of the triangle on Fat Tuesday, February 5, members of the Sabine Area Restaurant Association (SARA) will be showcasing much more than this region’s finest foods.

The crowd of nearly 3,000 Mardi Gras revelers who descend on the Beaumont Civic Center will be supporting the fundraiser launched in 1981 by Taste of the Triangle ‘godfathers’ – A.J. Leger, Bruce Alred and Vic Patrizi.

“Since 1981,” said SARA President Rich Courville, “the local restaurant association has cancelled annual Tastes only twice. In October 1999, we delayed the fundraiser until March 2000 to coincide with Fat Tuesday. In 2006, Hurricane Rita put a damper on the festivities.”

“Despite those interruptions,” noted Courville, “nothing has ever dampened our efforts to thank the communities and citizens who have made the local restaurant industry the largest retail employer in the Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange metropolitan area.” 

Twenty-Five Taste of the Triangle fundraisers have helped SARA members distribute more than $600,000 in cash, equipment and support for students through area charitable and educational organizations including Boys’ and Girls’ Havens, the Boy Scouts, Port Arthur’s Hospitality Center, the Neches River Festival, Nutrition and Services for Seniors, Some Other Place, the Southeast Texas Food Bank, the YMBL Livestock Auction benefiting 4-H students, the YMBL Special Olympics, the Women and Children’s Shelter of Southeast Texas, Lamar Institute of Technology and Lamar University.


Taste 2008 Dedicated to LU Hospitality Expert

Taste 2008 is dedicated to Dr. Molly Dahm, director of Lamar University’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts Programs. The recipient of the 2005 University Merit Award for outstanding performance in the classroom has served as a member of SARA’s board of directors since 1998. She is actively involved in the association’s Education Committee and the annual Chef’s Delight fundraiser that help provide training, scholarships and equipment for LU students seeking careers in the hospitality and food service industries.

“Molly just never stops working,” noted SARA President Rich Courville. “She never stops supporting SARA and her students. She is dedicated to the restaurant association and food service industry like no other person I know.”


Recipe for Good Times

SARA’s 2008 recipe for good times and good food will feature the big band sounds of the 20-member Night and Day Orchestra. From 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., February 5, tasters will once again be invited to bite off much more than they can chew as they splurge on tidbits ranging from Cajun to country cooking.

Tickets to the Feb. 5 feast of fun, music and food are on sale at the Beaumont Civic Center Box, 409-838-3435, HEB on Dowlen Rd., FYE at Central Mall, ticketmaster.com, and charge by phone, 409-833-7747. Tasters who purchase tickets in advance pay $15. Tickets purchased at the door, the day of the event, are $20. Parking is free at the Beaumont Civic Center for those attending this year’s Taste of the Triangle.

The Sabine Area Restaurant Association represents 139 members and is a chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association. The state restaurant association represents a community of more than 5,000 foodservice professionals who will provide jobs for nearly 1,000,000 Texans in 2008.