Last month, Lucky's Cafe owner Heather Haviland threw a small party to honor her mother, Mary Lou Ferguson, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. (My father also suffers from Alzheimer's, and I can attest it's a terrible disease that shreds the hearts of those who watch it slowly erase the person they know.)
The party raised money for the local Alzheimer's Foundation. Thanks to the efforts of friends — most notably Chef Ky-Wai Wong, a member of Cuyahoga Community College's Culinary Arts faculty — the party also generated funds to provide for Ferguson, a bright and endearing spirit called "mom" by all who know and love her.
Every seat was filled, and more people wanted to attend. So Wong — who was the beneficiary of a similar sort of fundraiser put together by Haviland years ago when one of his children was very ill — has organized another, larger benefit event on March 3. This Dinner in the Dark special edition will be hosted jointly by the Tri-C Hospitality Program and its executive director and chef Brandt Evans, who also owns Pura Vida. Proceeds will go to the Cleveland chapter of The Alzheimer's Foundation. Proceeds from a Chinese Auction will benefit the Haviland family.
Participating restaurants include Fahrenheit, Lola and Lolita, Fire, Amp 150, Cork and Cleaver, Pura Vida, Crust, Lucky's Cafe, Momocho, Spice Kitchen and Bar, Trentina (not yet open), Flying Fig and Nightwood (Chicago). Also participating are Premier Produce, Ahuja Hospital, Tri-C, SOW Food, The Cheese Shop (West Side Market) and Lilly Handmade Chocolates.
Food stations will be set-up throughout Tri-C's Management Center and Pura Vida. Grazing begins at 6:30 p.m.. Tickets are $75.05 each (valet parking included) and must be purchased in advance.