Stew, Chili & Brew
Stew, Chili, Brew brings
down-home cooking to Main Street
crew among those
seeking bragging rights
(October 2010) It didnt take long for
the cooks of Ponderosa Steakhouse to get into the competitive spirit
of Soup Stew Chili & Brew.
At a managers meeting in 2009, staff members were looking for
a way to increase the restaurants presence in the community. Someone
suggested cooking for the Madison Area Chamber of Commerces annual
October street festival. They had not participated in the first six
Stew Chili & Brew
Oct. 9 in Madison, Ind.
- noon: John Walburn & Friends (including Andra Bladen,
John Gray, Shelby Gray and Ryder McQueen)
Noon - 1 p.m.: B.G. Johnsons Big Bad Brass Blowout
1-2 p.m.: Matt & Katie (contemporary folk)
2-3 p.m.: Rockbox (rock)
3-4 p.m.: Bobbi Phoenix (rock & blues)
Stage is located at the intersection of Main and Mulberry streets.
The Ponderosa crew had little experience serving food
outside, and their booth was thrown together at the last minute. We
were really disorganized, said assistant manager Jami Brewer,
who was in charge.
But magic happened as they served their soup from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The crowd loved it. The restaurant employees had a blast interacting
with familiar restaurant customers as well as friends they met for the
first time. Attendance was high, feedback was good, and they served
soup all afternoon.
And at the end of the day, Ponderosas bean soup won first place
in the soup category. Then their clam chowder a real crowd-pleaser
took third place in the stew competition. That sealed it. They
were ready to start thinking about 2010.
Now that its almost time for the eighth annual Soup Stew Chili
& Brew on Saturday, Oct. 9, the whole staff is pumped.
Theyre bringing back the clam chowder because it went over so
well last year. For the soup category, theyve developed a new
vegetable beef soup recipe using fresh Ponderosa ingredients. Its
all homemade nothing from a can, promised Brewer.
General Manager Tiffany Easley has also developed a new chili recipe
just for the festival. Were really excited about it,
This year theyve pulled in more volunteers and will decorate their
booth in a cowboy theme, fitting for their western-themed restaurant.
Its really a group effort for everybody. The whole teams
excited about it, said Brewer. We enjoy being able to interact
with people in a different way.Their booth will again be located
near the Floating Cow at 113 E. Main St. The festival itself stretches
along two blocks of Main Street, from Jefferson to West streets.
Folks line up to sample the culinary creations of cooks competing for
bragging rights as the best in Jefferson County in the categories
of soup, stew, chili and witches brew any non-alcoholic
Admission is free, but members of the public can purchase $1 tickets
to exchange for food, beverages or games.
Winners are determined by a panel of judges. Trophies and plaques from
previous years are proudly displayed by winners such as Ponderosa Steakhouse.
Other first place finishers from last year were Ponderosa Steakhouse
for soup, Kings Daughters Health & Hospice for stew,
Fairplay Fire Company #1 for chili, Hanover United Methodist Church
for brew and Prince of Peace Catholic Church Choir for best-decorated
booth. Fairplay Fire Company #1 also won the traveling trophy for best
Usually a couple of dozen community organizations, restaurants and businesses
enter the competition. Among the early entrants in this years
Soup Stew Chili & Brew are: American Red Cross, Disciples of Christ
Fellowship, Fairplay Fire Co. No. 1, Hickory Creek Soup Stewers, Madison
Clearinghouse-River Valley Resources, Madison Elks Lodge, Madison Young
Professionals, Madison Ulster Project, New Life Fellowship, Ponderosa
Steakhouse, VFW Womens Auxiliary, Western Fire Company #3.
At the center of the outdoor festival is a music stage with free, live
music all day. This years lineup includes singer-songwriters,
folk, rock, blues and brass. Folks can take their own lawn chairs if
they want to sit at the intersection of Main and Mulberry to enjoy the
Tony Ratcliff is chairing the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce committee
that organizes the festival. He is assisted by interim Chamber staff
member Margo Watkins.
Watkins has announced several sponsors for the event. They include Chandler
Chevrolet, Cinergy Metronet, Madison Precision Products, River Valley
Financial Bank, Thornton Terrace Health Campus, The Waters of Clifty
Falls, Kings Daughters Hospital and Time-Warner Communications.
Back to October 2010