Police officers Jason Nelson, Lance Lopez, Mark Buell, Random Johnson, and Jeremy Senese. Dennis Prieto was the chief cook for the Police Department.

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Breaking a three-year losing streak, the Evanston Police Department won the annual grill-off against the Evanston Fire Department. The mid-day contest drew hundreds of people to the parking lot of Evanston Plaza.

Valli Produce, the owner the plaza, donated all the food – meat, buns, chips, water, spices and condiments, said Steve Jordan, who organized the event as a fundraiser for the Evanston Police and Fire Foundation (EPFF).

“Valli went above and beyond in terms of being helpful. Their commitment to this community is just incredible.”

For $10, each person received two hamburgers, a bag of chips, a bottle of water, and a chit to vote for the better burger: –  “Evanston’s Finest Slider,” the grass-fed-gouda cheeseburger with sundried-tomato-and-basil aioli on a brioche bun or “Firemen’s Fury,” the bacon-wrapped slider with jalapeno pepper, red onion, and guacamole.

Radio station WCGO was on hand, with Dennis “Sonar” Green entertaining the crowd when the station was not playing music. “We’re here for the duration,” said Kevin Burgess, Director of Operations at WCGO. “Anything we can do to help EPFF, we’ll do.”

EPFF raised $3,500 from the grill-off. The money will be used to provide life-saving resources for the community and first-responders. EPFF has given money for Fire Explorers’ Program gear; rape and abuse defense systems; K-9 Unit training, gear and support;  CPR training and equipment;  Fire Command Board; sweat suits for assault victims, the File of L.I.F.E. (Lifesaving Information for Emergencies) program, smoke detectors, and bike helmets.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...