Photo by Sarah Cook.
The Whole Scoop is one of many Hoover businesses bringing their best flavors to Taste of Hoover.
Hoover residents will have the opportunity to taste some of the area’s best cuisine beneath the boughs of autumn trees come Oct. 6, as Aldridge Gardens hosts its fifth annual Taste of Hoover.
Tynette Lynch, CEO of Aldridge Gardens, said when the leaves begin to change color and stringed lights weave their way through the branches, the space takes on a special sparkle.
“I like to call it the biggest garden party in Hoover,” Lynch said.
This year, the event will boast about 30 restaurants and caterers, all located in or operating out of Hoover.
David Cohen, owner of The Whole Scoop Ice Cream off South Shades Crest Road, is one of those 30 vendors. Cohen participated in the inaugural Taste of Hoover in 2011, and he said he can’t wait to set up shop again this year.
“It just keeps growing and growing,” Cohen said, who has owned The Whole Scoop for five years.
Cohen, who hails from South Florida but now proudly claims Hoover as home, said events like Taste of Hoover celebrate what he loves most about living in Hoover — community.
His ice cream shop is a visible testimony to his devotion to his adopted hometown. Photos of patrons line the walls, and popsicle sticks — all autographed by happy customers — decorate the interior.
“We were just trying to find something that we could do that was us and something that was good for the community,” Cohen said. “And we came up with ice cream.”
Along with sweet vendors such as The Whole Scoop, Lynch said Taste of Hoover will offer some savory flavors such as Dale’s Southern Grill, Chicken Salad Chick, Moe’s Original BBQ and Fried Green Tomatoes.
Some notable new vendors in the event’s lineup, Lynch said, include Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes, Jake’s Soul Food Café and the culinary staff of Galleria Woods Retirement Community.
“It’s a great opportunity for the local restaurants to get some exposure,” she said. “They all come out and create just a great, beautiful atmosphere.”
The setup for the event will be casual — but with a layer of garden elegance. Tents, stringed lights and tables will dot a portion of the 32-acre gardens, Lynch said.
Last year’s event was such a hit that tickets quickly sold out. This year, residents are getting their tickets early, she said.
“We’ve found by creating this garden atmosphere with the table and chairs, people tend to stay until the very end,” Lynch said. “It’s a social event, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Proceeds from the event benefit Aldridge Gardens, which is a designated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, she said.
Many of Aldridge Gardens’ efforts work to give back to the community. Recently, Lynch said the gardens hosted a group of blind veterans from UAB who fished in the garden’s waters.
“We want people to know we’re here and come enjoy what we have,” she said.
Cohen, who participates in community events like Taste of Hoover often, said there’s no better way to celebrate the season — and all the great vendors within the city — than taking a night to savor the sights and flavors of the area.
“We get to be a part of the community, and it’s a lot of fun,” Cohen said. “And that’s what it’s really all about.”