Varanese Hosting Burger Bash Tonight 2009: Decades Emmy

Varanese hosting Burger Bash tonight

For more than two decades, Emmy Award-winning TV sports feature producer Billy Rapaport hosted an “after Derby party” for media friends and V.I.P.s at
Zena’s Cafe downtown. But after the blues bar closed in recent years, Rapaport lost that venue and began looking for another, which led him to Varanese Restaurant, 2106 Frankfort Ave., owned by his friend, chef John Varanese. Rapaport, who works for NBC during the Kentucky Derby, often cooked burgers during past parties, but he’ll likely be up front mingling this year, said Varanese. “When he talked about how Zena’s used to have this party and how it ended, I said, ‘Why not have it here'” Varanese recalled. “I saw it as an opportunity to take care of a good friend, build my own business and keep a legacy like that party going on. It’s cool to think we’ll continue it.” The no-cover-charge bash runs from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. today and will feature the band Lamont Gillispie & 100 Proof. And since the official name of the event is Billy’s Burger Bash, expect a menu of burgers and fries, blackened-chicken sandwiches, wonton-wrapped shrimp with sweet chili sauce, and calamari. “It’s bar food, but from Varanese,” the chef said. Varanese said high-profile celebs have appeared at Billy’s Bash, including last year, when Rapaport hosted actress Andie McDowell and baseball star Brett Saberhagen for dinner at the restaurant. For more information, call 899-9904.
Nobody’s been more eager to open Boombozz Pizza and Tap House, 1448 Bardstown Road, at the intersection with Eastern Parkway) than owner Tony Palombino, who’s seen the grand opening pushed back multiple times. The doors finally opened officially this week on Palombino’s snazzy new sports bar, a first for his company, which includes three other pizzerias bearing the Boombozz name.

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