Toast of the Town …

Al and Marie Pronko: Ready to battle it out.

When it comes to good food and great times, Hamtramck has plenty to offer. In this column, we’ll talk about what’s happening at our bars, restaurants and other events that can be found throughout the city.

By Alan R. Madeleine

Maybe it could end up being another reality TV show?

The good folks over at Maria’s Comida might have a hit on their hands with their inaugural charity venture, which they’re referring to as a “Daddy/Daughter Bake-Off,” complete with celebrity judges, a live raffle/auction and tons of pastries, all for charity’s sake.

Here’s the deal, straight from the mouth of Marie: The event occurs this coming Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Maria’s Comida.

Maria’s is at 11411 Jos. Campau, about a block and a half north of Caniff on the west side, just north of Hungry Howie’s. They’re expecting a pretty good turnout, so you might want to get there early.

The whole “shebang” costs $20 at the door. It will be set up as a “strolling” event, with appetizers provided by Maria’s, and pastries from Ethel’s Edibles, Love’s Custard Pies, the Schoolcraft College Culinary Arts Program, and more.

At about 7 p.m., the celebrity judges will sample a batch of competing pastries as whipped up by “Daddy” Al Pronko and “Daughter” Marie Pronko.

Judges are: Chef Joe Decker (one of only 12 certified Master Pastry Chefs in the country, and a current instructor at Schoolcraft, where Al got his training); Chef Tom Keshishian (“Chef Tom,” another of Joe Decker’s former students, founder of Street Eatzz, and former host of channel 56’s “Dining in the D”); and Erin Rose (founder of Positive Detroit/ and Pick MI Date/

Patrons can get in on the voting — by voting with their wallets. Again, everything is going to charity, which in this case means Marie’s former employer of five years, Orchards Childrens’ Services, who just happen to be celebrating their 50th year of providing shelter, food, clothing and life-skill support to area youth.

Still haven’t spent out? There’ll be a number of items raffled off, or up for bid, throughout the evening, including a hotel stay at the Greektown Casino, local artists’ art, a “Michigan basket” put together by Marie out of locally made products, and a parade company tour, among other items.

For more info, you can call Marie, at her Comida, at (313) 733-8406.

And the heck with Lent.

Do you know of a cool bar, a great restaurant or just a nice place to hang out? If you have tips on special events or just want to shine some light on your favorite spot send a message to or call us at (313) 874-2100.

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