Local Restaurants Scare, Funds for 2nd Annual Monster Mash Benefit

Formed last year in response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Restaurant & Allied Partnership of Central Florida (RAPCF) gathered last year for the adorable Mask-for-Aid Ball and raised more than $ 15,000 last year, product that has returned to help its members through difficult times.

They’re doing it again this year with the Monster Mash Masquerade, which returns to Dr. Phillips House on October 28 (6-10 p.m.) for an evening of tastes, sips, cigarettes and live entertainment – costumes are definitely encouraged. .

“When COVID-19 shut down the world, there was an information vacuum for independents,” says Nicholas Oliveri, co-owner of Bites & Bubbles and co-founder of RAPCF with his partner, Eddie Nickell. Both are past presidents of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“We had a lot of contacts in the industry, politically and in the legal teams that weren’t readily available to the little guy. The FRLA does an incredible job, but it is a great organization that oversees the industry as a whole, flying at 50,000 feet, overseeing, protecting and promoting the huge hospitality industry in the state.

Oliveri and his partner wanted to bring some of these benefits to the local level.

“Mask-for-Aid was a way for restaurants to pitch themselves in front of potential customers and make some money doing it. “

They’re doing it again this year – and local foodies and people ready to party for the spooky season will sample dishes from some of Orlando’s best-known restaurants, including Maxine’s on Shine, MX Taco, Island Time and more. . New arrivals include Hawaiian hangout The 808 in Thornton Park.

Last year’s event came at a critical time for Outpost Kitchen Bar & Provisions, says chef / owner Julie Casey, noting that attendance is special for her on many levels. At the time, the restaurant was in a strange sort of purgatory: the College Park location had already closed, but the new and sprawling Maitland site was not yet open.

“It was important to always be in front of consumers,” she says, reminding them that Outpost was still there. “It was also the first time that I got involved in a group of restaurants that really worked together to help each other and navigate the current environment and its headaches caused by COVID.”

Last year, says Oliveri, the challenge was to organize a social distancing event in the midst of the pandemic. The expansive outdoor space of the elegant and historic Dr. Phillips House fits the bill.

“It’s the perfect setting for the Monster Mash Masquerade due to rumors the house is haunted,” says Oliveri, noting that the Victorian touches of the house are transporting and well suited to the season. “The expansive courtyard is furnished with all the food and beverage stations with standing tables throughout the courtyard and the main dining area of ​​the house will be furnished for guests who wish to sit inside.”

On the rooftop terrace, the “Up in Smoke” lounge presented by Corona Cigar Company and Bites & Bubbles will offer a selection of cigars as well as whiskey and tequila tastings. The ‘Elevate Below’ wine tasting, presented by Swirlery Wine Bar, will take place in the mansion wine cellar (10 guests at a time with time limits).

A DJ, as well as live performances, will keep things alive and exciting all night long.

Tickets cost $ 100 each, with all proceeds going towards the continued recovery of participating RAPCF restaurants to cover the cost of organizing the evening.

Among those returning to the event is Francesco Aiello, chef / owner of Francesco’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Maitland. He’ll bring fresh ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms in a creamy goat cheese sauce, eggplant parmigiana and a mixed olive bruschetta, as well as his homemade meatballs, which caused a stir at last year’s event.

“It’s always nice to help each other when you can,” says Aiello, who is grateful to the regulars who helped with take-out orders during the height of confinement and supports his fellow restaurateurs on his nights off.

“I try to go to all the restaurants in my free time and make recommendations to my clients… This event is a great way to help restaurants get back on their feet and meet other chefs at the same time. .

More information: rapcf.org/monster-mash

Want to reach out? Find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @amydroo or on the OSFoodie Instagram account @ orlando.foodie. E-mail: amthompson@orlandosentinel.com. For more fun, join the Let’s Go Eat, Orlando Facebook Group or follow @ fun.things.orlando on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.



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Gladys T. Hensley

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