The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce is hoping local residents will explore the city one bite at a time at the second annual A Taste of Columbus.

There are still some $30 tickets left for the Thursday event at The Commons, set for 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The Taste features more than 25 area restaurants and businesses providing food and drink samples to a 21-and-older crowd, giving residents an opportunity to explore Columbus cuisine on a large scale.

Participating restaurants are primarily locally owned, something that provides a unique and special experience for residents and visitors to Columbus, chamber president Cindy Frey said.

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“I am looking forward to seeing these restaurants strut their stuff,” she said.

Betty Spears, manager at Papa’s Deli in downtown Columbus, said the restaurant is coming back for its second appearance at the event. This year’s offerings will be Lemon Almond Chicken Salad and what Spears called the deli’s famous Baked Potato Salad.

Although Spears said she couldn’t tell everyone how the potato salad is made, it does have onions, bacon and cheese — all the flavor additions that people crave on a baked potato.

Papa’s Deli will be making enough of the salad to serve about 400 people, which represents 140 pounds of each type, something that takes days to prepare, Spears said.

For those hoping to indulge their sweet tooth, Ashlynn Leigh Cakes will be bringing a selection of chocolate and pumpkin spice mini-cupcakes, creme brulee and flourless chocolate cake to the Taste.

Owner Aubrey Smith said the bakery will be working on preparing the sweets right up to the time they move the eight dozen samples of each item to The Commons.

The bakery also will have samples of some of its Christmas cookies and candy to entice visitors to stop in at the bakery during the holiday season.

Smith said it’s doubtful there will be much to bring home after the event.

“It goes fast,” she said of the items being prepared. “Last year, we came home with nothing.”

Chamber officials have tweaked a few things with the second installment of the Taste such as adding more tables to provide a better tasting experience, Frey said.

Some of the participating restaurants will be featuring items that they offer for holiday catering in the hopes of drumming up seasonal business later this year, she said.

The Taste is an event that was organized as a way to heighten visibility of businesses so they might attract new customers, Frey said.

Last year’s event was a sell-out, and the Chamber hopes this year will be the same.

Frey said the Taste is also a chance to find something new to experience in Columbus.

“Perhaps they will discover an eatery or watering hole they didn’t know existed,” Frey said.

Taste of Columbus participants

4th Street Bar & Grill

Ashlynn Leigh Cakes

Blackerby’s Hangar 5 & First Class Catering

Bob Evans

Catering by Karr

Chick-fil-A

Culligan Water

Dags Delicatessen

Dancing Goat Coffee

Free to Be Naturalee

The Gallery Bar & Bistro at Hotel Indigo

Henry Social Club

Kroger

Lucabe Coffee Co.

McDonald’s, Third Street

Sam’s Club

The Garage Pub & Grill

Yo MaMa Frozen Yogurt & More

240Sweet Artisan Foodworks

Papa’s Deli/Papa’s Grill

Popportunity

Puccini’s

The Savory Swine

Tre Bicchieri

YATS

Johnny Carino’s

Smith’s Row

450N Brewing Co.

Power House Brewing/Columbus Bar

Simmons Winery

If you go

What: A Taste of Columbus

When: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St.

How much: $30

Please note: This is an event for people 21 and older.

Tickets: For tickets, visit columbusareachamber.com; chamber office, 500 Franklin St.; Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St.; or Viewpoint Books, 548 Washington St. The event is open to the public, but ticket availability is limited.

For more information: 812-379-4457.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.