For 16 years, Tuscany Grill in Middletown has been a family-run business. And so, when longtime chef/owner Timothy Reilly lost his five-year battle with colorectal cancer in 2009, his wife, sister and nieces rallied to organize a benefit in his memory.
"Pretty much everybody in the family is in the restaurant business," says Timothy's sister and co-owner Brenda Reilly. His wife Lynne, Brenda's business partner, and daughters Kelly, 23, and Erin, 28, and nieces Maeve, 24, and Clare, 21, all work — and grew up — at Tuscany Grill.
Which made it a natural for the Reilly ladies to participate for the second year in the Appetite for Life fundraiser for the Center for Survivorship and Integrative Medicine at the Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center.
"Last year, Middlesex Hospital came to Tuscany Grill with its flagship program to try and get the restaurant involved," Brenda explains. "The timing was perfect. We were looking for something to honor [her brother]."
Brenda says she hopes the weather holds out for tonight's outdoor event, for 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the CSIM.
"You are considered a cancer survivor the minute after you're diagnosed," Brenda says. The CSIM offers yoga, meditation, reiki, Thai massage, reflexology, art and movement therapy alongside traditional cancer treatments — "all these things besides just a medical doctor," she says.
Tickets for tonight's kickoff party, from 5 to 7 p.m., are $10 and include two beer or wine drinks and appetizers. Among those donating time and equipment are Connecticut Rental Center, the blues and R&B band West Coast Cadence and musician Paul Christopher.
Restaurants throughout Middlesex County, including the Reilly's Cromwell restaurant, Baci Grill, have chosen a day during June to donate a portion of their proceeds to the CSIM.
Tuscany Grill is also hosting a “Tip a Cancer Caregiver” Day June 23 during lunch and dinner in which staff from the Cancer Center and CSIM will shadow the wait staff and any tips they receive will be donated to the CSIM.
For information, see middlesexhospital.org/events or call (860) 358-6200.
June 8, Gabrielle's Restaurant (Lunch/Dinner)
June 21, Baci Grill (Lunch/Dinner)
June 30, Perk on Main (Dinner)
June 11, Sweet P's Ice Cream, 51 Main St., ($1 per ice cream cone)
June 22, Black Seal Seafood Grille (Lunch/Dinner)
June 21, Red Tomato Pizzeria, 37 Boston Post Road, (Lunch/Dinner)
July 16, Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale (Magical Charity Carousel)
June 6, Puerto Vallarta (Lunch/Dinner)
June 8, Inn at Middletown’s Tavern at the Armory (Lunch/Dinner)
June 12, Osaka, 130 Main St., (4:30-9 p.m.)
June 15, Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar (6-9 p.m.)
June 20, Mondo Restaurant (Dinner take-out or dine-in)
June 23, Tuscany Grill (“Tip a Cancer Caregiver” Lunch/Dinner)
June 28, Illiano’s Restaurant (Lunch/Dinner)
Month of June, Cafe Rio, 162 Main St., (Cupcake of the Month)
June 16, The Back Porch (Lunch/Dinner)
June 4, Winchester Cafe (12-6 p.m.)
June 9, Farrell's Restaurant (Dinner)
June 13, Portland Restaurant, 188 Main St., (Lunch/Dinner)
June 14, Campagna Restaurant (Dinner)
June 15, Sophia's Italian Restaurant (Lunch/Dinner)