Restaurant news: Celebrating a worthy cause at a festive Toast of Edmonds

Bar Dojo won the Peoples Choice Trophy. (Photo by Steve Parent, NW Creative Exposure)

The 4th annual Toast of Edmonds took place Sunday afternoon, May 19 benefitting the Senior Lunch Program at the Edmonds Waterfront Center (EWC).

More than 300 people gathered on a spectacularly beautiful afternoon to celebrate the work of the EWC, enjoy some of Edmonds’ finest craft cocktails and small bites, and vote for their favorite cocktails – as well as raise money for one of EWC’s key programs for seniors.

Event Manager Carolyn Sellar of Adventures in Whiskey put together a stellar lineup of eight Edmonds restaurants located: KelneroBar Dojo, Calypso, Epulo Bistro, The Victor TavernRistorante Machiavelli, Barkada and Johnny Mo’s Pizzeria.

Barkada won the Judges Choice Trophy. (Photo by Steve Parent, NW Creative Exposure)
Kelnero staff setting up for the crowd.
Ristorante Machiavelli’s Amalfi cocktail.
Epulo Bistro stands ready for tasters
Bar Dojo’s Ahi Tuna Wonton Tostada small bite.
Johnny Moes prepping pizza and signature cocktail.
Calypso served a refreshing quinoa and kale salad.
Although brand new to Edmonds dining scene, the Victor Tavern crew served Five Corners Punch and Fried Polenta Cakes.

Each restaurant offered a signature cocktail as well as a small bite to compliment their drink. All of the cocktails that each restaurant presented featured some form of the award-winning Tennessee Uncle Nearest Bourbon and American Whiskey. Prior to the main event, VIP participants were able to choose from three different cocktail or whisky tasting options:

Nile Peacock creating a signature cocktail.

Tropical cocktail fun led by the renowned bartender and pizza maker extraordinaire Niles Peacock of Edmonds.

A memorable Uncle Nearest whiskey tasting will be led by Tony Larson of Revelry Room in West Seattle. He is an industry legend and incredible whiskey speaker.

Tennessee cocktail classics with Washington local Cameron MacDonald, one of the iconic 2024 World Class U.S. Top 100 Bartenders.

I checked out all three of these well-attended special VIP experiences where the participants were treated to delicious small bites paired with their drinks.

Uncle Nearest Whisky tasting flight.

There were several local vendors offering wine and cocktail gear. Kim Parsley of The Happy Traveler had a table where she was selling her extraordinary curated collection of vintage travel bars. Jeff Boyer of Jeff Uncorked allowed patrons to sample a delicious white wine called Albarino from Ancient Lakes. Jeff specializes in high-quality, small-production wineries from all over the world – he calls them some of the best wines you’ve never heard of.

Jeff Boyer of Jeff Uncorked.
Kim Parsley of The Happy Traveler Vintage Travel Bars.

The lively music was provided by DJ Jacqui, who created a festive vibe.

Judging of the special cocktails for this event was twofold. Event attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite libation and there was a panel of local “celebrity” judges that included Carolyn Douglas, Niles Peacock, Michael McMorrow (Toast of Edmonds Founder), Jesse Jones,  Edmonds Mayor Mike Rosen and Carolyn Sellar.

Barkada’s drink “Filipino Tap Water” (Uncle Nearest 1884, fresh tamarind, orgeat, lime juice and soda) won the Judges’ Choice Trophy and Bar Dojo’s drink “Jamaican Blossom” (Uncle Nearest 1854, hibiscus tea with cinnamon, cloves and ginger, Chinese dark brown sugar cane, orgeat and lemon) won the People’s Choice Trophy.  

But the real winner was the Senior Meal Program of the Edmonds Waterfront Center, as the Toast of Edmonds raised more than $7,000 by the end of the evening.  If you were not able to attend this year’s event, consider adding it to next year’s social calendar! Here’s toasting everyone who attended and supported the Edmonds community. 

— Story and photos by Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She loves to cook from scratch using produce from the gardens she created and maintains with her husband. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and focused on desserts, pastries and bread. She’s worked for restaurants and caterers in the front and back of the house (kitchen) on both coasts. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. Deborah loves experimenting and developing new recipes. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at


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