By Sean Barron
C laire Hawks seemed to possess a laser focus and look of concentration of an artist in the middle of using paint to transform an idea to a display on a canvas.
The 2-year-old Canfield girl’s tools of the trade, however, were not a brush and acrylics, but a plastic knife, a small packet of butter and a bagel.
“We enjoyed the brunch, and she enjoyed seeing the Easter Bunny with her brother, Cole,” said the siblings’ mother, Beth Hawks, who was among a few hundred people who came to the first of two 90-minute annual Easter Brunch gatherings Sunday afternoon at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave., on the West Side.
Hosting the pair of family-friendly meals was Kravitz’s Garden Caf & Inspired Catering.
Those who attended the sold-out first brunch partook of a menu that included bagels, ham, bacon, salad, lamb, mashed potatoes, green beans, colored tortellini, fruit and a medley of desserts such as cheesecake, apple pie and several types of kolachi. Barbecued chicken was a new entry, noted Patty Rydarowicz, catering manager and event coordinator.
“It’s fun. I even bought tickets for my family for the second seating,” said Rydarowicz, adding that the offerings also included an omelet station.
Meanwhile, Claire was having her own brand of fun also with other family members that included her father, Chad Hawks, and grandparents, Gene and Sue Bonanno.
“Next, we plan to get pictures of the flowers,” said Sue, an Austintown Elementary School first-grade teacher, referring to the blooming and colorful array of mainly tulips in the area’s popular and revered botanical gardens just outside of the center.
Also pleased with the menu selections was Billie Neuman of Niles, who came with her husband, Doug Neuman; daughter, Rebecca Neuman; and her 95-year-old mother, Jane Porter.
“This is wonderful food,” said Billie, for whom this was the first time at the event. “The lamb is great.”
“The food is incredible – especially the array of meat Jack [Kravitz] put out,” added Doug, a Niles attorney.
After finishing her meal, Billie was poised to join others in the gardens to get a taste and take pictures of the arranged flowers for her mother, as well as several sisters who live out of town and were unable to come, she continued.
Many attendees lined up to receive any of numerous combinations of omelets that Zeke Pedrick busily prepared – and occasionally flipped with precision.
“I’ve done [the brunch] every year,” said Pedrick, who’s worked about four years for Kravitz Delicatessen Inc.
Assisting him with preparing and getting the right omelets to the right people was Kimberly Rydarowicz, Patty Rydarowicz’s daughter-in-law.
Also happy with the festivities and turnout was Donia Kravitz Foster, who thanked Chris Pinter, a professional chef who handled the bulk of the menu and food preparation.
“He is the heart of the food,” added Kravitz Foster, who also was representing the family because Jack Kravitz, who’s her brother, was out of town for another commitment.
In addition, Patty Rydarowicz thanked the visitor center’s staff for providing the centerpiece tables that enhanced efforts to arrange the food items.