Surprise win gives Rotary’s Great Tastes at Suntree new flavor


Suntree Rotary Club Great Tastes at Suntree co-chairs Bill Means and Rick Filichia give the President’s Award Oct. 31 to Wuesthoff Hospital - Melbourne food service staff Teresa Donoghue, Neha Patel, manager Trudi Nowlin and Somjit Basler for the best dish at the Oct. 11 fundraiser.

Viera Voice Mike Gaffey

And the winner of the annual Suntree Rotary Club pick for best dish is … hospital food?

In a surprise upset, Wuesthoff Hospital - Melbourne walked away with the President’s Award trophy from the Oct. 11 Great Tastes at Suntree, which raised a record $15,300 for three chosen charities that received their checks at an Oct. 31 ceremony.

“I’m tempted to go for a meal, but it may be a pretty expensive proposition to get a seat,” joked Bill Means, event co-chair with fellow Rotarian Rick Filichia. “We were blown away.”

The People’s Choice Award went to perennial favorite Niki’s Family Restaurant in Suntree, which has won the award so many times in the past decade-plus of the event that it simply adds another plate to the permanent display in its reception area.

Uno Pizzeria & Grill won a third major award for Best Decorated Booth.

Nearly 400 people sampled signature dishes from 30 restaurants around Brevard at the Rotary’s largest fundraiser, held at the Suntree Country Club where the civic group meets at 7:30 a.m. Friday mornings. Means announced that the popular fundraiser will now be moved to the third Saturday of October, the next date Oct. 17, 2015.

The three charities that walked away with a check in hand for $5,100 each are:

The Children’s Hunger Project, which purchases individual servings of ready-to-eat foods and packages them for teachers to place in the backpacks of students they know to be hungry so they may have food over the weekends away from free breakfast and lunches at school.

The Boys and Girls Club of Temple Terrace, located a few miles south of Suntree in the closest area of great need, which helps children with homework, gives them a safe place away from home to hang out in a positive environment and challenges their minds and bodies with mental and physical activities.

Promise in Brevard, a community under development in West Melbourne that will be home to residents with developmental disabilities across Brevard, including Suntree and Viera. The charity will learn this month whether it has won $14 million in state housing funding for construction.

For more information on the event or Suntree Rotary membership, go to or call membership chairman Rich Egan at 321-890-4301.