LAKE HOPATCONG _ The Lake Hopatcong Foundation hosted its second Restaurant Night fundraising event at The Wearhouse Grille Thursday night.
Regina Makowski, owner, estimated that her regular Thursday night dinner crowd grew an additional 25 per cent because of the Foundation event. A veteran at hosting local charity fundraisers, Makowski was prepared, scheduling more staff both in the kitchen and in the dining room.
“These events not only help business but they are also helpful to the charities. It’s a great way to give back to the community, who has
been so generous and so kind to me over the years,” said Makowski.
The Wearhouse Grille will also host the 11th Hour Rescue organization on Wednesday, April 3. The restaurant has been hosting two or three events per year for 11th Hour for the past three years. They also participated in the Lake Hopatcong Elks Lodge #782 Leap in the Lake event earlier this month, raising $7000 for the children with special needs charity.
“It was so nice of Regina to host the Foundation tonight,” said Jess Murphy, president of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. “She has been an asset to the Foundation, offering her time and her business. We thank her and all the people who come out on Restaurant Night, and appreciate the people who support local businesses and the Foundation. And people get to eat good food,” she said.
Last month the Foundation hosted its first Restaurant Night at Alice’s in Nolan’s Point. Over 60 people attended the Wednesday night event and the management at Alice’s donated just over $400 dollars to the Foundation.
“The purpose of Restaurant Night is to build community relationships, get the word out about the Foundation and to sustain local businesses,” said Rebecca Rubenstein, a Foundation volunteer and event coordinator. “It’s not a huge money-making event for us but it is a way to connect to the community,” she said.
Sisters-in-law Julie and Kathy Flatt both used to live on the lake. Until a couple of years ago, Kathy lived in her family’s 1958 East Shore Estates lakefront house that was built by her grandfather. She and her family moved to Blairstown. Julie and her family also left the lake, moving to Independence, after living in the Woodport section since 1987. Through word of mouth, both got wind of the fundraising event and could not pass up the opportunity to show their support.
“We came back because we have such an affinity to the lake. It’s such a good cause. We wanted to support our friends who live here and who volunteer with the Foundation,” said Kathy who said she will help spread the word about future Restaurant Night events.
“I intend to come back next month and bring more people,” said Julie. “It’s a great cause, why wouldn’t we want to support it?” she said.
There are two more Restaurant Nights scheduled said Rubenstein. On the calendar for next month, Thursday, March 21, is Pavinici’s Italian Grill in Hopatcong. The Mason Street Pub and Marina in Jefferson is scheduled for Thursday, May 23. Rubenstein said she is working hard at scheduling a restaurant on month and hopes to have a schedule out soon. For more information or to help with the events, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonny Johnson, a lakefront property owner for 44 years, found out about the event through word of mouth. She vows she will support future efforts of the Foundation, including Restaurant Night, because she believes strongly in the efforts to preserve the quality of the lake and the residents who live around it.
“We need to save the lake, otherwise my property, all the properties, will be worthless,” she said.