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Perfect way to end Arlington Million day
By Deborah Donovan | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/22/2010 12:03 AM | Updated: 8/22/2010 12:24 AM

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Graham and Amy Gutzmer of Mount Prospect returned to downtown Arlington Heights Saturday for the first Taste of Arlington because they were not ready to quit when Friday night's Mane Event got rained out at about 9 p.m.

"We come for the atmosphere," Graham said.

And his wife was pleased that restaurants were offering genuine taste portions, usually for $3.

That's the whole reason for expanding to a second night of celebrating around Arlington Park's Arlington Million and International Festival of Racing, said Jon Ridler, executive director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, which put on the Taste.

"We want people to be exposed to what great restaurants we have in Arlington Heights," he said. A lot of people are coming around and eating different taste portions at different restaurants, That's great. We want to educate them so they'll choose these restaurants before they go out of town."

While most of the restaurant booths seemed busy, a real line formed first at Francesca's Tavola where the offerings like a salad called Insalata Lamponi, Cappellacci Spinaci or spinach and pasta, and a shrimp dish named Gamberi Francesca were favorites from the menu, said Todd Poore, a server handing out discount coupons for the restaurant.

Joann Kuper of Inverness said she was in the line for herself and her husband, Al, who was saving their seats.

"Their food sounds good, and when you see a line you get in it to find out what's so good about it," she said.

Dr. Joe Favia, president of the chamber, who made the event part of his agenda for the year, stopped while carrying chairs down the street to say complaints about not enough places to sit was a good problem to have.