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The Exchange Club of Copperas Cove Hosts Cravings of Cove

Police victorious over fire department in chili cook-of


Cove Leader-Press


Hundreds of residents piled into the Copperas Cove Civic Center on Tuesday evening for a taste of what Copperas Cove has to offer – or at least what the restaurants and local businesses have to offer.

The Exchange Club of Copperas Cove hosted the inaugural Cravings of Cove with a total of 17 vendors who set up booths, offering tasty samples of their bestsellers.

In the back corner of the Civic Center, the Copperas Cove Fire Department and Copperas Cove Police Department went toe to toe in a classic chili cook-off. Firefighter Carol Ballesteros cooked the Fire Department’s chili, which was paired with bottled hot sauce on the table. Lauren Castaneda cooked the Police Department’s chili, which was offered with a side of jalapeño cornbread.

Tickets to the event were $10 a piece, and attendees were entered into the raffle for the dozens of door prizes. Each attendee also received a ticket to vote for the winning chili. Voting ended around 7 p.m., and the bragging rights for best chili went to the men and women in blue at the Copperas Cove Police Department.

The Cravings of Cove acted as a fundraiser for the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove, also referred to as the Morning Exchange Club, but more importantly, it served as a way to highlight what Copperas Cove has in terms of places to eat, according to event organizer Clinton Brown

“The reason why we decided to put this event together is to give the vendors in Copperas Cove more exposure. It’s all about letting people know in the community what restaurants we have,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of restaurants opening up here daily, so we just want to get more exposure to the vendors so that we can kind of keep a lot of money here in the Cove area, instead of going out to other places. There’s a lot in which Cove offers to people.”

The Exchange Club of Copperas Cove hopes to make this an annual event and hold the second Cravings of Cove a bit earlier in the year next year, Brown added.

Funds raised from the event will go towards the programs and organizations that the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove supports, which include the Rainbow Room, child safety seat belt classes, etc. as well as the next event.

One of the vendors at the Cravings of Cove is a vendor seen around town at the various festivals and events, Sticky Fingas BBQ and Catering.

Owner Marcus Smith said that he is from Copperas Cove and that his food truck is a regular around the different events in Copperas Cove, including the Food Truck Festival. Being able to be a vendor at the Cravings of Cove was a great thing, he said.

“Just to be here, the fact that we’re just noticed and they’re doing Mom and Pop [restaurants] more than anything else, just for us to be here is an honor and a blessing,” Smith said. “Because they asked us, so it’s a good thing. We’re being noticed, and that’s the purpose of what all this is, right?”

Smith said that the response from the community and those in attendance was amazing. He had made 250 samples of the pulled pork sliders and of the brisket sliders, and by 6:30, there were approximately a couple dozen samples left.

Mikela Hays attended the event with her two children and her mother. Halfway through the event, they had visited Chick-fil-A, Shipley Donuts and Giovanni’s as well as the chili cook off. Hays said she voted for the Fire Department, but both chilis were yummy.

Her favorite station was Giovanni’s because of the pasta.

“I’m a pasta lover,” she explained.

She said she loved the event and the idea of it, especially getting to sample everything.

“I think it’s a great thing to try out,” she said.

The vendors included Giovanni’s, which offered samples of their alfredo and pasta primavera; Jack Hilliard Distributing representatives offered samples of Ghost energy drinks; Shipley Donuts offered donut holes and glazed donuts; Creative Cakes and Snacks offered mini-cupcakes; Black Meg 43 offered wings and chili burgers; San Miguel Mexican Restaurant offered mole enchiladas, beef or cheese enchiladas, ceviche, chips and salsa and guacamole; Chick-fil-A offered chicken nuggets and Chick-fil-A sauce samples; H-E-B Plus! offered tamales, chips and guacamole and a sample of Stride Hydration drinks; Sticky Fingas BBQ and Catering offered brisket sliders and pulled pork sliders; Unique Taste Haitian Restaurant which offered samples of their Griyo (fried pork); Monty’s Steaks, Brews and BBQ, which offered samples of their chicken fried bacon, pulled pork and brisket; Toa’s Ohana Hawaiian Restaurant, which offered samples of teriyaki chicken, Kalua pork with cabbage and their different sauces; and Cinergy Cinemas, which offered small bags of popcorn.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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