BANDON — A total of 16 local restaurants and businesses participated in the 10th annual Bite of Bandon Culinary Showcase and Auction on Saturday night at the Bandon Community Center. 

The event drew more than 200 people, including attendees, volunteers and restaurants serving "bites" or beverages. Organizers capped the ticket sales to 172 to allow for ample seating at the popular fundraiser for the Bandon Community Youth Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that serves Bandon's young people. 

This year, there were no judges for the event. Instead, winners were judged by people's choice.

Winner of the Best Savory Bite was Lord Bennett's, owned by Rich Iverson, for its butterflied prawns with crab and avocado. Lord Bennett's was last year's winner of the People's Choice award for its Tuna Poke Salad.

Winner of the Best Sweet Bite was Rolling Pin Bake & Brew, owned by Kayleigh Martindale and Sara Rupert, for their specialty cupcakes, including "The Elvis" (banana, peanut butter and bacon) as well as frosting shots. This is the third year in a row that the Rolling Pin Bake & Brew has won Best Sweet Bite.

Winner of the Best Display was Rawsome Juices & Smoothies for their creative fruit tree display. Rawsome Juices is located in the Bandon Shopping Center and offers juices, smoothies and vegan fare.

"Each year we are blown away by everyone’s warmth and generosity," said Youth Center board member Kim Russell. "We believe we came close to prior year proceeds, but net is still to be determined after final receipts."

The Bite of Bandon also included silent and live auctions, including high-bid items such as airline tickets, along with many other items donated by local merchants and individuals. 

Other participating restaurants included Alloro Wine Bar and Restaurant, serving Chocolate Patron-infused Cupcakes and donating wine and cooking classes; Edgewaters, serving a variation of one of their signature dishes: Creamy Lemon Pasta with Shrimp; Bandon Farm and Seafood Market, serving John Towne's Famous Clam Chowder and Smoked Salmon Chowder; Foley's Irish Pub, serving their signature Shepherd's Pie, Clam Chowder and Bread Pudding; Shoestring Cafe, serving Siracha Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sliders; The Spoon, serving Grain-Fed Beef Bites with Bleu Cheese; A Little Bite, serving a variety of non-alcoholic specialty beverages, as well as Prawn Tacos and Vegan Cauliflower Tacos; Ray's Food Place Market and Deli, serving custom designer cakes; RayJen Coffee serving up Columbian coffee roasted in Bandon; The Fleet Deli, serving Pulled Pork Sliders with Slaw; The Fam Productions Catering, serving Chicken Satay and Curried Rice Salad; Bandon Brewing Co and Pizza, serving pizza; beverages from Bandon Brewing, Bandon Rain Cider, and the Beverage Barn; and the Bandon High School Culinary Arts Program, serving Marionberry pulled chicken with maple bacon baked beans.

"We thank everyone who joined us for the 2019 Bite of Bandon," Russell said. "In addition to the restaurants who are open for business, the BHS Culinary Arts program, led by BHS Youth Transition Specialist Josie Shindler, represents each year, providing an opportunity for her students to prepare and serve to the public."

There are a total of 62 students enrolled in Bandon Youth Center programs, including HLMS After Hours Math Mentors, Kids in the Kitchen, News and Media Club, and Coyote Stories Art and Culture, along with BCYC after school programs for younger students, including Junior Robotics, STEM Club, and Art Club.

In additional collaboration with the Bandon School District, and made possible by a grant from Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, the Youth Center is able to provide transportation by bus to home for those participants, following district bus routes.

Lord Bennett's owner Rich Iverson served Butterflied Prawns with Crab and Avocado and won the Best Savory Bite. Last year, Lord Bennett's was …

Recurring donations and grants, plus proceeds from The Bite of Bandon help to support the cost of overhead expenses including insurance, professional fees, utilities, standard building maintenance and BCYC program wages, Russell said.

HLMS After Hours is made possible by the K-12 Out of School Time grant from the Oregon Community Foundation. In conjunction with the OCF K-12 Out of School Time initiative, the Ford Family Foundation, partnered with the Institute of Youth Success, provide BCYC with training and assessment tools that assists in creating quality programs. 

"Our gratitude goes out to those 16 vendors and beverage sponsors, along with our event sponsors, including gold sponsor Southern Coos Hospital and Health Center, and silver sponsors Bain Insurance Agency and Banner Bank," Russell added. "Our goal for this event is that it serves everyone, hopefully providing vendors a fun opportunity to reach new customers and to network, and for community members to enjoy a great night out."

New this year, the Class of 2023 offered child care at BCYC during the event to raise funds for their class.

The Bite of Bandon is held each year, the first Saturday in March. The BCYC Board of Directors meets every second Tuesday, 6:30 pm, at the Youth Center, 101 11th Street, SW, Bandon. For more information or to volunteer, call 541-347-8336 or email: bandonyouth.org.

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Bandon Western World Editor Amy Moss Strong can be reached at 541-347-2423, ext. 305, or by email at amy.moss-strong@theworldlink.com. Follow Bandon Western World on Facebook.