Joe Thomas and Al “Bubba” Baker were the honorary co-chairs for the 14th annual Taste of the Browns last night at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The event is a yearly fundraiser mimicking the national Taste of the NFL event, in which Clevelanders help provide the Foodbank with funds to provide meals for families and children around the city.
This year, the event raised $158,000 before the doors were opened. Corporate sponsors and ticket purchases helped make that possible. Tickets were $150 per person.
Several top restaurants and chefs were on hand and provided amazing food for the event’s participants and volunteers. From braised beef shin sliders to sushi to lobster mac and cheese, the event had a little something for every palette.
Several other current and former Browns were on hand as well. Alex Mack and Colt McCoy were there supporting the cause and meeting with patrons. It should be noted that McCoy received an extended ovation from the crowd. Back-up quarterbacks are always very popular the day after the starter throws several interceptions.
Several items were up for auction throughout the night, including autographed memorabilia, restaurant gift packages and even a washer and dryer. The latter was valued at over $3,000 and went in the auction for only $1,700. Multiple times Bubba Baker took over the microphone during the auction to help raise the stakes for the food bank.
The Browns donated a suite for the Bengals game, including food and non-alcoholic beverages that sold for just over $2,000.
Al Baker, himself a former defensive end, took time to praise the Browns and let fans know he felt the future looked bright, especially with selection of Trent Richardson. Baker was one fan impressed with Richardson’s run over former Buckeye Kurt Coleman.
Aside from the amazing food, the highlight of my evening was meeting Kevin Mack, who looks like he is in phenomenal shape. He doesn’t look as imposing in his Browns Alumni coat as he did in those broad shoulder pads and #34 jersey. He does look like he could still put a few moves on a linebacker though.
It was a good evening for a very worthy cause-
“The Cleveland Foodbank works to ensure that everyone in our communities has the nutritious food they need every day. The Foodbank distributed over 34 million pounds of food to more than 650 member agencies in 2011, which was enough food to provide over 29 million meals! Every dollar raised at Taste of the Browns allows the Foodbank to provide four nutritious meals. Nearly 50% of recipients at local hunger centers are children and the elderly.”