Downtown restaurant to host ‘The Homo Project’ for charity

COURTESY PHOTO | The Riverhead Project is holding a charity event to benefit gay and lesbian organizations this Friday called The Homo Project.

Patrons of The Riverhead Project are guaranteed to have themselves a gay ole time this Friday night, and restaurateur Dennis McDermott is even reaching into his own cash register to make sure of it.

His popular downtown Riverhead restaurant will be hosting an event he’s affectionately dubbed “The Homo Project,” an evening of charity that will see 25 percent of dinner bills and all proceeds from certain drinks donated to a pair of gay and lesbian groups.

“It is a little bit radical,” Mr. McDermott said of the name, but it’s an attention-grabbing event he hopes will shed light on a very serious subject.

A flier for the event, which is being cosponsored by Bedell Cellars, features a letter from Mr. McDermott and Bedell CEO Trent Preszler, who say they hope their efforts will “help in some way stop the tragic rise in anti-gay bullying and gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender youth suicides in this country by raising awareness and providing refuge and support to GLBT youth in crisis.”

“The gay teen suicide rate is ridiculously high,” Mr. McDermott said. “We want to raise money to help that.”

Proceeds from all glasses of Bedell Cellars wine sold that night will be donated to the Long Island LGBT Community Center and the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth organization in Bay Shore. All money made off a specialty cocktail called “fabulous” will also be donated to those organizations.

Mr. McDermott says he’ll place donation boxes on the bar that evening to help raise even more money.

This is not the The Riverhead Project’s first foray into charity work. In fact, the restaurant has made a habit of it since opening last year.

A running event called The Peace Project sees guests donate money and waiters contribute half their tips to The Gere Foundation, which raises money to preserve the culture of Tibet and its people. Mr. McDermott is also hosting a $200 per plate dinner Feb. 20 to benefit the North Fork Animal Welfare League.

“I always like to do things that raise money for causes,” Mr. McDermott said.

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