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30th Anniversary Restaurant Gala Offers Flavors and Sounds of Philadelphia

February 8, 2013

More than 50 of the region’s best restaurants, from Philadelphia to Atlantic City, will showcase their specialty dishes at the 30th Anniversary Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala, 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 14, at Bally’s Atlantic City.

“Where else can you taste food from more than 50 places at one event?” said John Varalli, owner of Scannicchio’s Restaurant in South Philadelphia.

After 30 years, Varalli is the sole original restaurateur participating in the Gala. His restaurant, located on Broad and Porter streets in Philadelphia, is a neighborhood favorite.

From Stephen Starr’s Buddakan and The Continental to Girasole, Jose Garces’ Distrito and South Philly’s Cacia’s Bakery, the 2013 Restaurant Gala has a lot to offer a food lover. 

“It’s nice to have a few more Philly restaurants join with the best restaurants in Atlantic City to raise money for student scholarships,” Varalli said.

Varalli has also been a member of the Restaurant Gala Steering Committee since the event’s inception in 1984. He recalls attendance during the Gala’s early years. “We started out with about 350 guests, grew to 500 people, now we sell out every year with nearly 1,000 guests. It’s one of the biggest and nicest events in Atlantic City.”

In addition to the food, the 2013 Gala will feature fantastic entertainment provided by Philadelphia-based FM Band, and Jersey’s much-loved The Sensational Soul Cruisers.

The cocktail reception features thousands of delectable hors d’oeuvres prepared by students attending Atlantic Cape’s Academy of Culinary Arts. 

The event has raised nearly $3 million since 1984. Gala proceeds benefit scholarships for students attending the Academy of Culinary Arts and Atlantic Cape Foundation operations.

Tickets to the Gala are $225 per person and can be ordered by contacting Carrie Leahy at (609) 463-4672 or or online at