BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Southern Park Mall in Boardman hosted a new Italian event Sunday night, bringing together restaurants in the Valley as well as the community.
Ten local Italian restaurants brought their best to the first Sunday Sauce Showdown — a new event to determine who has the best sauce in the Valley.
Restaurants have been busy preparing for the event.
“We brought just our traditional red sauce. That’s our specialty. It’s what we make from scratch. We put a lot of love into it,” said Michael Romeo, owner of Carchedi’s Cafe.
Each sauce was presented to a panel of celebrity judges. They voted on who had the best Alfredo, Bolognese, Marinara, Specialty and Vodka sauce.
People attending the event could also vote on who had the best pasta.
Papa Geges Italian Villa in Boardman won the alfredo, bolognese, traditional and vodka sauce categories while Tinos Italian Kitchen took home the win for the specialty sauce.
Bogey’s Bar & Grill won the people’s choice vote for best pasta.
“My fiance bought the tickets, so we came out here to have a good time. I worked a long day at work today, so all this food sounds really, really good,” said Bradley Bridge of Poland.
“We just moved here from Texas last fall,” said Allen Pekkanen of Columbiana.
“So we really miss the Italian food,” added Cindy Pekkanen.
Proceeds from the night’s Sauce Showdown went to Potential Development, an organization providing educational services to students with autism.
“Our kids come back tomorrow. It’s the first day of school, just kicking off the new school year, so the proceeds of this event are going to help us have a great year,” said Paul Garchar, CEO of Potential Development.
The Sunday Sauce Showdown is much more than a friendly competition. Every restaurant was there to help one another.
“There’s a couple of us, you know, we’ve been going back and forth on the phone and, you know, trying to plan for everything, and there’s been a little smack talking going on between some of us,” said Melvin McKee, co-owner of Bogey’s Bar and Grille.
“It’s nice to see people getting out to do something positive, and Sunday night at the mall, you know, local town,” said Alan Donatelli, owner of Donavito’s Restaurant. “It’s nice.”