Taste of Struthers event draws hundreds
By GRAIG GRAZIOSI
Hundreds of people packed into St. Nicholas Hall to fill themselves up with the city’s finest fare Wednesday night during the Struthers Rotary Community Corps’ sixth annual Taste of Struthers event.
The event highlights restaurants, bakeries and other food providers within the city and money raised from $20 ticket sales is donated to local charities and projects.
More than $8,000 was raised during this year’s event.
This year’s event featured 17 vendors: Donavito’s, Rip’s Cafe, Elm Tree Catering, Selah, Nemenz IGA Bakery, Bogey’s Riverside Catering, Bogey’s Bar and Grill, Tangier, Lena’s Main Street Deli, Maplecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Belleria, Brier Hill Pizza, Dunkin Donuts, Sr. Jalapeno, Giannios Candy, Luva Bella Winery and Penguin City Beer.
Catherine Cercone Miller, who organizes the event for the Struthers Rotary Corps — and is the Democratic candidate for this year’s mayoral election — said the Taste of Struthers is ultimately about showing off what Struthers businesses have to offer the rest of the community.
“It’s perfect for somewhere like Rip’s, where the new owners can get acquainted with the community and show off their menu at the same time,” she said. “The businesses get a lot of exposure. We have a lot of good food in our little city and it’s nice to show it off to the community.”
Jeff Smith, one of the owners of Rip’s Cafe — which recently re-opened under new management — was serving jerk chicken over rice, one of the businesses’ new menu offerings courtesy of chef Gaeton Thompson.
“We joined the Taste of Struthers because we wanted to get the name ‘Rip’s’ back out there in people’s minds and show off one of our new menu items,” Smith said.
For Juan Sanchez, the owner of Sr. Jalapeno, the event is just another way he gives back; Sanchez is known in the community as a supporter of youth baseball and donates to various causes.
“This is my second year doing this, and I came back because it’s a fun event and we like doing it,” he said. “When we opened our business here, we became a part of the community, and so we want to make sure we can give back and serve the community whenever we can.”
Other Struthers staples were on hand and serving the food they’ve become known for: Donavito’s brought its mobile smoker and grill and served up barbecue ribs and smoked kielbasa. Selah had cupcakes from its bakery and Tangier, Belleria and Brier Hill offered pizza slices.
Cercone Miller said she intends to continue organizing the event regardless of the outcome of this November’s mayoral election.