Wednesday, February 13 2013, 08:40 AM CST
Port Arthur restaurant owner hopes for success at his Taste of the Triangle debut
JEFFERSON COUNTY - By Megan Dillard - It's a southeast Texas tradition many people have developed a hunger for through the years. Tonight marked the 30th annual Taste of the Triangle celebration at Ford Park.
The Fat Tuesday tradition goes hand in hand with Mardi Gras.
Food, live music, and more than 60 booths hosted by vendors from across the Golden Triangle.
For $20 people walked around and sampled food and drinks.
The Sabine Area Restaurant Association hosts the event.
The money raised goes to area charities and Lamar University scholarships.
There were many vendors tonight, representing a wide range of food and restaurant concepts.
From big chains to mom-and-pop places, each business was proud to showcase its products.
KFDM met with the owners of a new restaurant earlier today, to find out how the small Port Arthur crew was gearing up for its Taste of the Triangle debut.
Daily menu items here at Ichiban Hibachi in Port Arthur.
But today, Larry Gumelar prepared this culinary tour of Asia for the Taste of the Triangle.
"It's really great for a restaurant owner's business because it can really be helpful to improve and to show them the experience and knowledge about food."
Gumelar and his wife Nancy took over the restaurant less than a year ago after the pair moved here from New York.
"I think it's the classic reasons. Everybody wants a better life."
The Indonesian couple works hard to grow the family business.
"We would never know if we didn't try. I'm really confident what we sell, our products, people can still afford it."
Several hours of preparation, one dish at a time, the group loaded up, and headed to Ford Park.
Ichiban Hibachi quickly became a popular stop.
While the group served up one spoonful at a time, a small crowd formed at their booth.
The food went quickly.
"No you can't run out!"
Exactly the type of success Gumelar hopes will drive people back to his restaurant.
"I'm confident that I will make it here and I will stand to serve people better in southern Texas."
Ichiban Hibachi was just one of dozens of restaurants represented tonight. There was a wide variety of food: everything from gumbo to frozen yogurt to popcorn.
Organizers honored radio personality Al Caldwell tonight.
He has been the master of ceremonies for the event each year since it started. The money raised goes to several places including not-for-profits, animals for the YMBL South Texas State Fair, and culinary scholarships at Lamar University.