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Niceville eatery wins Judge’s Choice at Mac-N-Cheese Festival

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The Mac-N-Cheese Festival at Destin Commons featured gourmet, chef-inspired twists on the South’s favorite comfort food. Local restaurants brought their A-game to compete for the best mac and cheese in town.

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Basil and Baxter’s Kitchen and Cocktails was named the Judge’s Choice Award-winner in the inaugural Mac-N-Cheese Festival held May 19 at Destin Commons. Basil and Baxter’s Kitchen is a local’s favorite here in Niceville.

The first Mac-N-Cheese Festival along Florida’s Emerald Coast was a huge success with 3,000 attendees and $30,000 raised to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast.

“We are extremely thankful to all that attended, all of our cooking participants, Destin Commons, and all of our sponsors for making this first-year event an instant hit,” said Shervin Rassa, Chief Executive Officer, The Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast. “Every cent raised through this event will make an impact on the over 4,000 youth we serve on an annual basis.”

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The family-friendly event featured gourmet, chef-inspired twists on the South’s favorite comfort food. Local restaurants brought their A-game to compete for the best mac and cheese in town. Visitors were able to sample each vendor and cast in their vote. There were three categories in total, Judge’s Choice Award, People’s Choice Award, and Kid’s Choice Award.

Award winners are as follows:

Judge’s Choice: Basil and Baxter’s Kitchen and Cocktails

People’s Choice: Red Fish Taco

Kid’s Choice: Panera Bread

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“We are thrilled that the inaugural Mac-N-Cheese Festival was such a huge success,” said Brooke Zannis, Marketing Manager, Destin Commons. “The Boys and Girls Clubs are such an integral part of our community and the work that they do with our youth is inspiring, and Destin Commons is just happy that we could play a role in this event.”

The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence through its programs focused on academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.

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