Cuisine & Cocktails 2023 Press Release

Cocktails & Cuisine draws foodies who care to support Domestic Violence Victim Services on Friday, May 12 from 6 to 10 pm at The Woodlands

Crisis Center North’s 16th signature fundraiser at The Woodlands showcases top chefs, jazz, lively auctions, and more

Crisis Center North is celebrating its 45th anniversary

Foodies who care will gather again under the stars to support Crisis Center North’s (CCN) at its signature fundraiser, Cocktails & Cuisine. The outdoor tasting event marks its 16th year on Friday, May 12, at The Woodlands, with the support of presenting sponsors AON, Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network.

Sponsors also include Gold Sponsor UPMC Health Plan, and Silver Sponsors Allegheny Financial Group, Guardian Storage, Incline Equity Partners, Pittsburgh Steelers, Realty One Group Gold Standard, and WesBanco.

About Cocktails & Cuisine

The region’s top chefs and purveyors create the ultimate experience for sipping and grazing at the outdoor Bradford Woods venue while raising funds for essential services for the victims of domestic violence. Cocktails & Cuisine takes place at the Woodlands (134 Shenot Rd., Wexford, 15090), on Fri., May 12 from 6 to 10 pm.

Court TV’s Julie Grant, a member of CCN’s Paws for Empowerment Advisory Board, returns as event emcee. Weekday host on the national channel, the victim and animal advocate is known for her work as a former Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney and legal reporter for CBS Pittsburgh/KDKA.

Pittsburgh jazz vocalist Lisa Bleil is joined by Benny Benack, Jr. on horns and pianist John Burgh as the evening’s entertainment. The trio will perform jazz and standards throughout the evening.

Throughout the evening, guests graze and sip their way through the region’s best cocktails and cuisine from leading restaurateurs, spirit purveyors, and dessert specialists.

More than 400 of Pittsburgh’s most influential people are expected to attend. All Cocktails & Cuisine food and libations are provided by more than two dozen regional businesses with chefs and staff preparing bites and samples on site.

Media celebrity cuisine judges vote on their top picks while attendees also chose their favorite as
“People’s Choice”. Foodie Judges include:

  • Kristy Locklin, food editor, Pittsburgh Magazine
  • Star Laliberte, Western Pennsylvania online and social media editor, Table Magazine
  • Doug Oster, Pittsburgh Garden Guru
  • Rick Sebak, producer, host, writer, WQED Multimedia
  • Dr. Shellie Hipsky, CEO and Editor, Inspiring Lives Magazine and Global Sisterhood
  • Liz Willen, community manager, Yelp
  • Dave Forman, host, Very Local’s “Plate It, Pittsburgh!”

They are joined by other community and media celebrities as well as some roaming social influencers who
will feature the chefs’ creations on social media during and after the events.

More than 20 expected restaurants, chefs, and dessert specialists include (as of May 1):

  • fl.2 at The Fairmont
  • Atarashi Sushi
  • Braddock’s Rebellion
  • Aviva Pizza Oven
  • The Cheese Queen
  • Houlihan’s – Cranberry
  • Il Pizzaiolo
  • Coughlin’s Law Kitchen & Ale House
  • Nick’s Chop House
  • Pure Greens 412
  • Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh
  • Millie’s Ice Cream
  • Bella Christie’s Sweet Boutique; among others.

Guest beverage purveyors include

  • Goodlander Cocktails
  • Grist House Brewing
  • Hitchhiker Brewing
  • Kingfly Spirits
  • Maggie’s Farm Rum
  • Mindful Brewing
  • Stateside Vodka
  • Coffee Tree Roasters; and more.

Crisis Center North’s signature event and largest annual fundraiser enables CCN to continue to serve the community since its founding in 1978.

“Cocktails and Cuisine is so much more than a fundraising event,” says Grace Coleman, named CEO and President of CCN in 2023 after serving as CCN’s executive director since 1999. “It’s a time when our CCN family gathers to affirm the strides we have made in working to end domestic violence in the community, Coleman says. “This community has continually supported our organization’s mission of providing lives free of violence. Through our team’s dedicated work and ongoing commitment, Crisis Center North has continued to grow, providing new services in expanded sites. We are so proud that both our staff and services have been highlighted nationally. We have a lot to celebrate during our ‘sweet’ 16th year at Cocktails and Cuisine!”

TICKETS: Individual tickets ($125) include a wine or beer glass, as well as free parking with shuttle service to the venue. Reserved tables for eight (8) are available at $950. A Friend of CCN ticket package ($300) includes two event tickets and lower lot parking. Exclusive Front Row Parking on The Woodlands grounds is also available for purchase ($60) or Lower Lot Parking ($30) while supplies last.

MAY 12 at 9 pm. Bid from where you are.
Sign up in advance

Purchasing auction mementos and gifts support services provided to clients of Crisis Center North. Live auction items include exciting international trips. Themed packages feature top regional and destination accommodations include dining, entertainment, and sports experiences. 2023 trips include the opportunity to see the Northern Lights in Iceland; luxury accommodations in Jamaica; front-row seats and catered lunch to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; and more. Serving as auctioneer is Geoff Cowan, an Australian native known around the globe for more than two decades in live broadcast, sales and speaking engagements.

For more information on Cocktails & Cuisine, to purchase tickets, or to support the event as a sponsor or advertiser, please visit the CCN website. Contact Michael Brayack, CCN’s grants and publications manager,


For more than four decades, Crisis Center North has empowered victims of domestic violence and cultivated community attitudes and behaviors to help break the cycle of violence. Funds raised at the Cocktails & Cuisine support Crisis Center North’s commitment to provide trauma-informed services, expand awareness on the impact of intimate partner violence, and improve system responses. The agency has set an example for innovation in providing victim services.

Crisis Center North, in its 45th year, Crisis Center North has in the past year provided 38,536 live-saving services to 2,735 victims of domestic violence. Additionally, CCN provides 423 school-based violence prevention education programs to more than 14,043 students in Allegheny County. Free services also include a 24/7 hotline at 412-364-5556 and 9am-9pm Text Chat Line available by texting 412-444- 7660 or chatting online at CCN offers individual and group counseling, and both medical and legal advocacy at no cost to clients.

CCN’s innovative programs that continue to garner national and regional honors include:

  • CCN’s Mobile Advocacy Program has expanded into the Allegheny Health Network Wexford Hospital. The program received Pathfinder Award for Program of the Year from the Pennsylvania Governor in 2021.
  • CCN’S Rapid Rehousing/DV-UP program is a supportive housing initiative that helps individuals and families staying in an emergency shelter and fleeing domestic violence move quickly into secure and safe permanent, affordable housing.
  • The acclaimed Paws for Empowerment program now provides emergency shelter for humans and their animals. Expanded services now include hotel stays in pet-friendly hotels for victims and companion animals or stays in local animal boarding facilities for companion animals, among other recent additions to the scope, including support for transportation, veterinary care, and more. PAWS provides canine court and therapeutic advocates, as well as and outreach and prevention education programs for schools and the community.
  • Cheri Herschell, CCN legal advocate and canine handler, was named the 2022 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse of the Year, selected from a national field of 500 nominees. Canine advocate Penny was a nominee in 2020 for the American Humane Hero Dog Award in the “Service Dog” category.
  • National media coverage included several appearances on Court TV, educating the public about domestic violence and with the Afternoon Focus program highlighting our PAWS for Empowerment Program.

Presenting Sponsors: AON, Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network

Gold Sponsors: UPMC Health Plan and Bill Few Associates Wealth Management

Silver Sponsors: Allegheny Financial Group, Allstate Insurance, Baker Young, DT Midstream, Guardian Storage, Incline Equity Partners, Pittsburgh Steelers, Realty One Group Gold Standard, Voelker Kairys & Morris, LLC, and WesBanco

Beverage Table Sponsors: Enscoe Long Insurance, Healthy Pet Products, Piatt Sothebys, PJ Dick -Trumbull – Lindy Group

Media Sponsors: Inspiring Lives Magazine, North Hills Monthly Magazine, Pittsburgh Magazine, Table Magazine, and Yelp


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