You know a restaurant is doing something right when it’s packed on a Monday night.
OCCO Kitchen in Orléans hosted The Great After Work Party, an inaugural networking fundraiser for the city's east enders. It was the brainchild of Catherine Landry, CEO and founder of Call Betty marketing.
The bustling eatery, located in a retail shopping centre on Innes Road, saw dozens of people turn out for the three-hour mixer. The event raised money for the Orléans-Cumberland Food Bank while also welcoming spring (and giving winter a brisk handshake before showing it the door).
Co-owner Mark Steele has that salt-of-the-earth quality we've come to expect from a Newfoundlander. Stunning images from his home province can be seen hanging on the walls as soon as you walk into the restaurant.
He helped to raffle off a bunch of donated prizes, and he wasn’t shy about it, either – he hopped up onto tables to command the crowd’s attention.
Catherine Priestman, president of marketing agency CP Business Solutions, and senior project manager Christina Sheffield caught wind of the The Great After Work Party after it was posted on Ladies Who Lunch, a 19,000-member women’s business networking group, also created by Landry.
“It’s always important to get face-to-face time with people,” Priestman told OBJ.social. “It’s great that we saw the event on social media but I feel that it’s valuable to connect us, one individual to another, and to share what’s going on in our businesses.”
The social butterfly said she's always looking for ways to meet other like-minded business people.
"Because our industry involves a lot of creativity, I like to go to different places and meet different people. It stimulates my imagination so that I can learn things that may interest my clients," said Priestman.
Out supporting the cause was public servant Kevin Hurtubise, who brings thousands of east end residents together through the Orléans Craft Beer Festival. He co-founded it last year.
Hurtubise donated to The Great After Work Party a bunch of passes for this year’s festival, taking place June 7 to 9 outside Centrum Plaza.
“I want to meet other business leaders and community leaders who are doing similar work promoting Orléans in the east end of the city,” he said of his reason for attending Monday night's party.
The gathering was the first time Landry has organized an event in the city’s east end. It came together after she had reached out to Steele’s wife, Caroline Côté, with the idea.
“I want people to have lots of food, lots of drink and no attitude,” she had told Côté.
Goal accomplished. Everyone got along famously and some attendees were lucky enough to leave toting prizes, including Nathalie Carrier. She's the executive director of the Quartier Vanier BIA and was also involved in managing the Canada 150th Birthday celebrations.
She won a taco and tequila party for six at OCCO Kitchen.