THE SUPER BOWL is certainly a macho event, and I'm sure the stadium is the most macho place to watch it. However, I believe I watched this year's game in a place where all those big, bad football players would feel right at home.
Yep, 50 or so people were invited to a Super Bowl party at Bonavita Farm, in St. Michael's. It's an incredible hunting lodge, built by Bob Pascal -- former Anne Arundel County executive and former appointments secretary for Gov. William Donald Schaefer, on about 500 acres. From what I could see, it's a hunter's and fisherman's delight, inside and out.
When Capt. Buddy Harrison, owner of Harrison's on Tilghman, arrived, he offered to give us the grand tour of this two-story building, which has so many bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms, that I lost count. Its entire interior is knotty pine; bearskins hung from the staircases; stuffed animal heads and fish decorated the walls along with waterfowl. The fireplaces are massive. And, what more could one want than a life-size cardboard figure of a man said to have been the most macho of all times -- John Wayne?
Harrison told me things are going well and that he's busy building a new oyster house by the Tilghman Island Bridge.
It was obviously the idea of Pascal's co-host Lou Grasmick, to have their "floating Super Bowl party" at Pascal's new digs. Last year, guests boarded a plane for Florida to watch the game with Brice and Shirley Phillips, owners of the Phillips restaurants, at their hotel; and the year before that, it was at the home of Charlie and Jean Thomas, McNamara Steel Fabricators.
Next year, it'll be back where it started, at the home of Nancy and Lou Grasmick.
The food, prepared by Harrison's Chesapeake House at Tilghman caterers, was good -- crab balls, meatballs, barbecued beef, oyster stew and my favorite -- a huge baked rock fish stuffed with crab meat.
Among those partaking were Robert Wallis, who was editor of the Aegis newspaper for 38 years and is a member of the Maryland Stadium Authority, and his wife, Sandy; George Bluso, well-known entrepreneur; Lee and Vickie Harden, Lake Falls Construction; Harford County executive Eileen Rehrmann; owner of the Ocean City Sheraton and many other establishments, Dr. Lenny Berger came up from Ocean City with Kathleen McCann; Rita and Bob Ferry, he's former Bullets GM -- their son, Danny, plays with the Cleveland Cavaliers; Carol Purcell, Center Club; Suzanne Vache, Sascha's caterers; Bruce Dunham, Merrill Lynch; American Joe and Pat Miedusiewski, he's a lobbyist with the Semmes Public Affairs Group; Lenny Miller, who managed American Joe's campaign for governor; Jean and Nick Frank, vending machine business; legendary former mayor of Chestertown Elmer Horsey and his wife, Joan; John Paterakis, H&S; Bakery; Gail Hoffberger, Baltimore County special education teacher; Dave and Kathy Slosman, she owns the Diet Center in Severna Park and he's in the computer business.
One of the activities going on during the game was written bids on a football autographed by Johnny Unitas. At the end of the game Todd Smith, Joan Horsey's son, was the winner.
Proceeds from the bidding will be sent to Sandy Unitas' favorite charity, One Voice, a national organization for abused women.
Hoisting a glass
Steve Di Castro, owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, 34 Market Place, rolled out the welcome mat for the Brown Forman folks recently. They were touting Jack Daniels ale, lager and pilsner, new ventures into the fine-beer market. The Kentucky contingent was led by Stuart R. Brown, of the Brown family, in charge of new items; John Gomatos, VP/national manager; and Mike Pysor, Jackie Gill and Tom Miller, local managers.
More than 50 area retailers came to the party, which began, for many, at the bar enjoying one of Di Castro's fine cigars and wonderful hors d'oeuvres. Soon we were ushered into a private dining room where the beers were tasted and guests dined on delicious steaks, fish and veal chops, accompanied by tasty creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes.
Joe Davolio, president of Churchill Distributors, toasted his guests and welcomed the retailers, as did Gomatos. A few of the people I spotted were Barry Pachino, owner of Shoppers Discount Liquors; Mike Hyatt, owner of Wells Liquors; Steve Gulecke, owner of Cranbrook Liquors; Stanley Biden, owner of Midway Liquors; John Reed, manager of Pargos chain; and Pat Gonzales, owner of Shawan Liquors. Kudos to Churchill's Mary Slaughter, who made the evening a pleasure for everyone.