By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Alan Donatelli hasn’t yet decided what he’ll bring to the Taste of Struthers event — maybe his smoked ribs, for one.
But Donatelli’s uncertainty extends only to the samples of menu items from Donavito’s Italian Grille, which he opened 11 years ago on South Bridge Street downtown, he’ll showcase at the event.
As soon as Donatelli heard about the event, set for Thursday and organized to raise money for the Struthers Rotary Community Corps’ projects, he was on board. At least a dozen eateries in the city will take part in it, offering up tastes of their culinary specialties.
“We’ve become more and more a part of the community every year,” Donatelli said of his restaurant, “and I want to give back in any way I can.”
Taste of Struthers is the first fundraiser for the community corps — an organization started about a year ago, sponsored by the Struthers Rotary Club, and made up of non-Rotarian men and women who simply want to better the area in which they work or live — said Councilwoman Carol A. Crytzer, D-2nd, and the group’s secretary.
Late last year, members began brainstorming for fundraisers but wanted to make sure whatever they chose was unique and different from what other organizations were doing. They decided then to host a tasting event.
“We thought it would bring our restaurants attention and draw people even from outside of the city,” Crytzer explained.
So far, Crytzer said, participating restaurants are Belleria, Bogey’s Riverside Banquet Center, Brier Hill Pizza and Wings, C’s Waffles, Donavito’s Italian Grille, Elmtree Catering, Maka Mia Pizza, Nemenz IGA Bakery, Pizza Joe’s, Rip’s Cafe, Selah Restaurant and Tangier Bar and Pizza.
She added that each business will have its own table set up along the interior walls of St. Nicholas Great Hall, 762 Fifth St., and that one “taste” will be allowed for each person who visits the table. The event, which will be from 6 to 10 p.m., also will feature a cash bar and 50-50 raffle.
Michael Cox, vice president of the community corps, said members chose to keep Taste of Struthers smaller in its first year but already are looking to increase the number of attendees and participating businesses next year — and to make the event an annual one.
“Hopefully, the demand will be there for us to grow it,” Cox said. “I’m honestly excited about it and about people coming to Struthers to see what all the city has [to offer].”
A total of 300 tickets will be sold. Tickets, which cost $10, still are available and must be purchased in advance at Ernie’s Barber Shop, 1028 Fifth St.; Ginnetti’s, 2741 E. Midlothian Blvd.; or from any member of the Struthers Rotary Community Corps. Sponsor tables, with 10 tickets, are available for $80.