Thompkinsville, June 26, 2009 – Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Member Kenneth Mitchell participated in a unique tasting tour of Little Sri Lanka as part of the “Nine in 09” campaign. , Mogan Chinniah, owner of Dosa Garden restaurant, New York City and Company, the Staten Island delegation, Assembly Member Matthew Titone and members of the Sri Lankan community joined the Speaker and Council Member in the tour.

The day’s event follows an announcement Speaker Quinn made last month with Mayor Bloomberg, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC and Company kicking off the campaign, which invites New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore nine culturally diverse neighborhoods that New York City has to offer. The Speaker first mentioned the idea in her State of the City speech, as a way to support local small businesses during challenging economic times.

Today’s visits included a savory tasting menu of Masala Vada, Rasam, a traditional spiced lentil essence soup and Shrimp Biryani from Dosa Garden, and talking with local business owners.

“The Nine in 09 campaign highlights the many treasures we have within our five boroughs,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Not only are these cultural jewels a way to help New Yorkers explore unknown areas, but they will also help tourists maximize their experience here and show off all we have to offer. Together, we at the Council are working as hard as possible to ensure that New York City’s local businesses stay afloat during these tough economic times. 9 in 09 is just one example of those efforts.”

“The Sri Lankans have contributed much to our community, and this campaign is a great opportunity to highlight the wonderful restaurants and community of Staten Island’s Little Sri Lanka, said Council Member Kenneth Mitchell. “It is a great honor to be a part of and support campaigns like the Nine in 09, that emphasize our local cultural gems and bring about local support and interest.”

“I am greatly honored & delighted that the speaker has chosen my restaurant as the venue for the press conference, said Mogan Chinniah, owner of Dosa Garden. “It is my privilege to serve the speaker and the elected officials the delicious Sri Lankan cuisine. I also want to thanks our Councilman Ken Mitchell for looking after the interest of the minorities in Staten Island. District 43 is lucky to have Councilman Ken Mitchell who has proved his ability within a short period of time far beyond our expectation. God bless America”
“Staten Island has a well deserved reputation as the ‘Borough of Parks,’ but we are quickly also becoming the ‘Borough of Restaurants’ due to the proliferation of wonderful establishments that reflect the growing diversity of our community,” said Council Member and Minority Leader James Oddo. “These wonderful restaurants are worth the extra 20 minutes on the treadmill.”

“Little Sri Lanka is on of the City’s hidden gems, and we’re pleased to highlight all the great dining, shopping and cultural offerings in the neighborhood with our Nine in 09 campaign,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “We encourage all New Yorkers to visit explore Little Sri Lanka – and all of New York City’s unique neighborhoods this summer.”

Little Sri Lanka
It used to be that Sri Lanka and Staten Island shared nothing in common…except for the fact that they are both islands that start with the letter “s.” But over the years, the South Asian country’s rich culture and delectable Indian-, Dutch- and Portuguese-influenced cuisine have made their way to Staten Island—and the free, 25-minute ferry ride from Manhattan makes it easy for both visitors and locals to take part in the experience. A 15-minute walk from the St. George Ferry Terminal, the hub of Little Sri Lanka is located between Bay Street and Victory Boulevard, where most of the neighborhood’s restaurants and shops are clustered. Be sure to arrive hungry to taste Sri Lankan food like crepes and rice and curry. If the closest you’ve gotten to Sri Lanka is buying an M.I.A. album, Staten Island’s version of the country is well worth the trip

Nine in ’09 highlighted neighborhoods and cultures include: Astoria (Greek); Jackson Heights (Indian/Latin American); Brighton Beach (Russian); Flatbush (West Indian); the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue (Little Ireland and Little Italy); Koreatown; El Barrio; and Staten Island (Sri Lankan).

For more information on the campaign visit