For the 17th year, The Center in Asbury Park – an organization dedicated to assisting people living with AIDS and HIV in Monmouth and Ocean Counties – has rallied two dozen restaurants for its Center a la Carte dining event to be held Friday, May 7.

“In 1992, this event began as a simple spaghetti dinner,” said Father Bob Kaeding, founder of The Center.  “Today it has grown something we are all so proud of with twenty-five local restaurants and vendors offering some of their best fare.  It is more than our biggest fundraiser of the year, it is an electric night where all of us involved in The Center see great friends and can thank our supporters for all of the encouragement.”

Guests of the event held at Convention Hall will sample food from some of the leading restaurants in our area including Eggplant Rotinni from Belmonte’s, Asian Short Rib Dumplings from Kessler’s Catering and Clams and Oysters on the half-shell from Lusty Lobster.

“I took a peek at the menus planned by some of the great restaurants and am sure guests will be thrilled,” said Father Bob who founded the organization after realizing those living with HIV and AIDS needed supplemental services that could make a difference in their lives. 

New for 2010, Yes Graphic’s Adam Kenter will be DJ’ing the event and there will be a raffle of a 1994 Searay 250  Express Cruiser [photo right] and trailer valued at almost $9,000, donated by a local boating enthusiast.

“The Center has always been a place where people could find someone to understand, someone to hug and show them some love,” said Father Bob.  “The outpouring of love from Center a la Carte’s attendees helps us fulfill our mission every year.”

Center a la Carte participating restaurants as of press time:  Asbury Park Roastery, Baker Boys, Belmonte’s, Bistro Ole, Branches Catering, Cheese on Main, Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County, Il Pavone Gelateria, Jesse’s Café, Kessler’s Catering, Laila’s Latin Infused Cuisine, Langosta Lounge, Lusty Lobster, Moonstruck, Perfect Perk, Plan B, Silk Catering, Starbucks, Synaxis by the Shore, Taka and Windmill

Peter James of Peter James Florist on Cookman Avenue will donate all the flower arrangements.

Call 732.774.3416 for tickets ($100).

For TheBPlot’s exclusive past coverage of Center a la Carte, click here.