Taste of Hillcrest Rotary benefit draws 350; Hilton Garden Inn voted top eatery

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 11:15:43 PM. The 17th Annual Taste of Hillcrest was held Wednesday night, Oct. 11, at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights. The event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Rotary Club of Hillcrest -- Sunrise.

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The winner and still champion is Hilton Garden Inn.

For the second straight year Hilton Garden Inn, 700 Beta Drive in Mayfield Village was voted the best restaurant by patrons of the 17th Annual Taste of Hillcrest held Wednesday evening at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, 6111 Landerhaven Drive.

An estimated 350 people turned out for the Rotary Club of Hillcrest -- Sunrise fundraising event.

"It's our largest fundraiser of the year," said the Hillcrest Club's President Karen Poelking, of South Euclid. "Its purpose is to raise funds for our service projects locally, in the Hillcrest area, and internationally.

"We're involved locally with such things as Meals on Wheels; our community grant program, in which we give just over $10,000 in grants to organizations in our communities; operating shelters; and supporting the Special Olympics."

At the event was a "shelter box," a large dwelling tent that includes tools and a water purification system which the local Rotary bought to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

The Rotary Club of Hillcrest -- Sunrise, at 32 members, serves the communities of Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Gates Mills, South Euclid, Lyndhurst, Highland Heights, Richmond Heights and Euclid.

Those who attended knew they were doing good for others in their community when they paid for their tickets, but the highlight was obviously the food.

Fourteen restaurants participated, bringing with them delicious edibles for the sampling.

"I voted for Piccolo (Italian Restaurant, 1261 S.O.M. Center Road in Mayfield Heights)," said Helene Cicero of her favorite eatery. "They have wonderful cannoli and eggplant parmesan. We go there to eat often."

Cicero, the mother of former Lyndhurst mayor Joseph Cicero, said she has been coming to Taste of Hillcrest since her son became a Rotarian 12 years ago.

At Cicero's table was Lyn Pisani, a longtime Lyndhurst resident who now lives in Mayfield Heights. She voted for Alfredo's at the Inn, 780 Beta Drive in Mayfield Village, as her favorite.

"A bunch of us go to brunch there every week," she said of her choice. "I like (Taste of Hillcrest) a lot, the way its set up, the food choices and the great venue."

"This is fantastic and this is a wonderful place to have (Taste of Hillcrest)," said Toni Costabile, of Mayfield Heights, whose son Gregory once served as that city's mayor. "My father was in the Rotary in the '50s. This is my second time here. I enjoy it a lot."

The event included numerous raffles and the opportunity to renew friendships.

While the atmosphere was a friendly one, there was competition among the restaurants in the air.

"We're here to defend our title," said Joseph Novak, head chef at Hilton Garden Inn. "Last year was my first year here and I want to make it two for two."

Hilton Garden Inn was successful in defending its 2016 championship by serving shrimp parmesan risotto and cherry, peach and apple cobbler.

Finishing second in the voting was Sara's Place by Gavi's, 1501 Chagrin River Road in Gates Mills.

Other competing restaurants were Bahama Breeze, 3900 Orange Place in Beachwood; Fox and Hound English Pub & Grille, 1479 S.O.M. Center Road in Mayfield Heights; Freeway Lanes, 28801 Euclid Ave. in Wickliffe; Harry Buffalo, 5604 Wilson Mills Road in Highland Heights; and Lyndhurst Grill by J. Alexander's, 5845 Landerbrook Drive in Lyndhurst.

Also, Jet's Pizza, 5350 Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst; the Original Master Pizza, 6643 Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights; Pick Your Pie, 5815 Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights; The Melting Pot, 24741 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst; and Trader Joe's, 28425 Chagrin Blvd. in Woodmere.

Event sponsors included Hillcrest Hospital, Wenger Orthodontics, Legacy Village, Orlando Baking Co., and Miceli Dairy Products.

The Rotary Club of Hillcrest -- Sunrise, meets at 7:15 a.m. Tuesdays at Alfredo's at the Inn, 780 Beta Drive in Mayfield Village, for breakfast and fellowship. Anyone seeking further information, or who is interested in joining the organization can visit hillcrestrotarysunrise.org.

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