Mac and Cheese Throwdown for Hope

What could be better than an evening enjoying some of the Triangle’s best Mac & Cheese and craft cocktails? How about knowing that you’re also supporting a great cause at the same time?

The annual Mac and Cheese Throwdown and Bartender Showdown benefiting The Hope Center at Pullen will be 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Market Hall in downtown Raleigh. For a $25 ticket, attendees get all they can eat bites of cheesy goodness and six two-ounce cocktail samples. The event was rescheduled because of Hurricane Florence, but the delay just made you hungrier, right?

“It is a lot of fun,” said Jan Wrzesien, manager at Relish Craft Kitchen & Bourbon Bar. “We have a band playing, and you get all the samples and six drink samples from the drink shakers – the bars that are there promoting their specialty drinks.”

Three years ago the folks at Relish launched the friendly competition to see who was the Mac Daddy of noodles. The event was also an opportunity to raise money for the Hope Center, which supports young people who are aging out of the foster care system. Because Relish owner Sharon May has a family member who was in the foster care system, “it was near and dear to her heart,” said Wrzesien.

“The management staff at Relish believes wholeheartedly that everyone should be given the opportunity to make the most out of their lives and livelihoods,” May wrote in a press release. “We also love the fact that the restaurant industry is such a great entry point for anybody who needs a fresh start at almost any time in life.”

Last year’s event sold out, so organizers have expanded into a larger space, with nearly twice the vendors. Roughly 15 restaurants will be represented including The Butcher’s Market, Oak and Dagger Public House, Wandering Moose Food Truck, Dram and Draught, Oak City Meatball Shoppe, Southern Charred, NOFO and Relish. Local band Steelwater will also be there to entertain.

The 2017 Throwdown raised roughly $5,000, and organizers hope to double the proceeds at this year’s event.

Tickets are available at Read about The Hope Center’s mission in Cary Magazine’s November 2017 nonprofit spotlight.

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