12 restaurants to compete in First Annual Jersey Shore Meatball Gala
WALL, NJ - Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the Shore, but it can’t stop a good meatball fight, say members of the Wall Alliance. The First Annual Jersey Shore Meatball Gala, a fun and innovative meatball tasting fundraiser, was cancelled in the wake of the mega storm but is back and bigger than ever. The event, which will take place Thursday, April 11, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the South Wall Banquet Facilities, will feature cuisine from a dozen shore area restaurants with proceeds going to Wall High School Project Graduation.
“This is going to be the most fun you’ve ever had with a meatball,” says Meatball Gala Chairman Jo Schloeder, Wall.
Mrs. Schloeder explains that area chefs will compete in a number of different categories including best traditional meatball, most oddball meatball, best non-meat meatball, and more. Judging will be done by a panel of expert judges as well as a “People’s Choice” award that will be voted on by Gala attendees.
“At the end of the night, we will award the ‘Best in Show: The Meanest Meatball of the Jersey Shore’ to the meatball with the most votes,” she adds.
In addition, there will be pasta and non-meat dishes, salads, bread, beer, wine, desserts, and coffee.
“The response from the community has been great,” says Schloeder. “We are grateful to the chefs and sponsors who recognize how important Project Graduation is and how much fun this event will be.”
She adds that 94.3 The Point radio personality Lou Russo will act as emcee and will be one of the judges. “Come on, who better to judge meatballs than a guy named Lou Russo?” she asks.
The following restaurants are currently signed up to compete in the meatball cook-off: Agostino Italian Specialties, Manasquan; Angerico’s, Brielle; Antonio's Trattoria, Wall; Brandl, Belmar; East Coast Cookery, Neptune; Fratello's, Sea Girt; Jimmy's Cucina, Brielle; Joe's Pizza, Wall; LiL Saint Pignic, Brielle; Runway 34, Wall; Spring Meadow Inn, Wall.
Sponsors of the event include: New Jersey Natural Gas Company; Denise Wegeman, LCSW; Investors Savings Bank; Senator Sean T. Kean; Tom and Anne Moonan; and John and Jo Schloeder. Businesses donating their services for the night include: Barlow's Flower Farm, Sea Girt; Brewer's Apprentice, Freehold; East Coast Beer Company, Pt. Pleasant; Harpoon Willy's, Wall; Macaroon Shoppe, Avon; Mix It Up Parties, Toms River; and Smith Computer Consulting & Design, Wall.
The event is being sponsored by Wall Cares, Inc. a non-profit dedicated to the Wall Township community.
“Wall Cares, Inc. is extremely pleased to support the Meatball Gala and Project Graduation,” says Wall Cares President Clint Hoffman. “We need to ensure the safety of our graduating seniors each year in the best way possible and Project Graduation does just that while also allowing the students to have a great night in celebration of their graduation.”
All monies raised through the Gala will be donated by Wall Cares to the Wall Alliance for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the group that funds and organizes Project Graduation.
“Project Graduation is the all-night drug- and alcohol-free party for graduating high school seniors,” says Wall Alliance Chairman Mary Lynn Morris. “It is an important event in our community because graduation night is historically a time when teens confuse ‘partying’ with celebrating, and this event gives the kids a safe place to celebrate their achievement and ensures they’ll come home healthy (and exhausted) the next day.”
The Wall Alliance raises between $15,000 and $20,000 each year to fund the event, a task that gets harder during difficult financial times. Money is raised through donations from area businesses, individuals and community organizations; a raffle; grants; gifts-in-kind; and fund-raising special events.