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Oyler: Count on Taste of the Town back by popular demand next year

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

My wife and I had a good time at the Bridgeville Public Library's first annual “Taste of the Town” fundraiser. It always seems overly optimistic for an organization to dub anything “first annual,” but the success of this event certainly guarantees it will be repeated next year.

When I offered to devote a column to this topic, I didn't realize that this required a combination of restaurant reviewer, entertainment critic and society page editor — a formidable combination indeed.

Let's start with the restaurant critique, which involves 12 different local institutions. Far too much food for one reviewer; fortunately between my wife and our friends, Sue and Dale Deblander, we were able to sample and evaluate all the offerings, beginning with tasty pretzels from the Philly Pretzel Factory in Great Southern Shopping Center and ending with delicious desserts from Portman's Farm Market.

We thoroughly enjoyed burgers from Bubba's, across the Washington Pike from Melrose Cemetery, and pulled pork sandwiches from Two Brothers Barbecue, in Presto. A pepperoni pizza from Big Guy's Pizza, Bower Hill Road, hit the spot, as did “wings” from Burgh's Pizza and Wings, in “downtown” Bridgeville.

My personal favorite was the Cinnamon Bread Pudding, served with a whisky cream sauce, provided by Piccolina's Restaurant in Pine Bridge Commons. A close second was the orzo pasta salad, with basil and sun-dried tomatoes, from PapaGallo Cucina, in Collier Town Square. The Deblanders liked the wedding soup from Shelby's Station, on McLaughlin Run Road.

We have heard good things about Cucina Bella, at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Lesnett Road, and were not surprised at the quality of their salad. It nicely complemented our pasta from Calabria's. We are familiar with their establishment in Castle Shannon and resolved to visit their Frosty Valley restaurant off Boyce Road.

Because I appeared to be puzzled when I stopped at the Country Style Specialty Shoppe table, the chef there explained where they were located, on Dewey Avenue at the bottom of Bank Street. I replied that, in my youth, there was a dairy store there run by Mrs. Hines. He gave me a packet of dinner rolls to take home. When I told him I was the food editor for the Bridgeville Area News, he replaced it with a small loaf of bread and instructions to “be sure and toast it.” I took his advice and was pleased with the results.

The gourmet dining was enhanced by beer and wine, served by the Beer Warehouse, on Railroad Street. Many other organizations contributed to the success of the event. The Home Depot provided impressive centerpieces for the tables.

My duties as an entertainment critic were more difficult. Fortunately, Jim Wisbon helped me out. Kim Losego and several friends played the first set tastefully and provided an appropriate background for the heavy-duty gastronomical activity being experienced.

They were followed by the Savoy Truffles, a “Beatles Tribute Band.” I couldn't understand how a seven-piece band could replicate the sound of a quartet. Jim explained that two of the guitarists in the front line were replicating George Harrison and John Lennon and that Paul McCartney was emulated by a non-singing guitar player and a vocalist. Similarly, the Truffles simulated Ringo Starr with vocals by the keyboard player and drumming by a mute drummer.

I'm not sure what the keyboard player did to emulate a band without a keyboard, nor the function of the fourth guitarist. At any rate, the Beatles fans in the audience were quite receptive to the performance and had a great time dancing to the ‘60s sound.

Joyce Heinrich, who is the fundraising coordinator for the library, served as Mistress of Ceremonies for announcing the awarding of door prizes, the winner of the 50-50 raffle, and the successful bidders for items in the Chinese auction. Kudos to Jane Irwin for organizing those events. Other library staffers — Donna Taylor, Cheryl Conroy, Karen Verduci and Ed Wolf — were delighted with the success of the event, as were board members Bill O'Connor, Michael Aquilina, Cindy Ghelarducci, and Patte Kelley. Emeritus library board President Nino Petrocelli and “everyone's favorite library volunteer” Lovona Bolla shared their enthusiasm.

Board President Becky Wisbon summed up everyone's thoughts by commenting that the evening was a marvelous tribute to the Bridgeville community and its support for the library, thanking the many businesses that had contributed to its success. Anyone observing the enthusiasm of this event and the hubbub of activity at the William and Grace McDivitt Center for Lifelong Learning in recent weeks must be convinced that the library's future is brighter than ever.

John Oyler, a columnist for Trib Total Media, can be reached at 412-343-1652 or

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