WESTMONT – A Clarendon Hills couple enjoyed a dinner behind bars Friday evening.
About 6 p.m. Friday, the Westmont Police Department partnered with multiple local restaurants and businesses to host Clarendon Hills Bank President Dave LaBrash and his wife, Melissa, for a dinner in a holding cell.
The husband and wife received the meal invitation after a close friend bought it at the Westmont Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau 2013 Winter Ball, but then had to sell the dinner because of a scheduling conflict.
The meal ticket was sold for about $200 during the winter ball silent auction, and all of the money benefits the Westmont Chamber of Commerce.
When he first heard about the dinner, Dave LaBrash was intrigued by the proposition. Afterward, the Clarendon hills resident said the food, hospitality and experience exceeded all of his expectations.
“It was such a fun and unique evening,” LaBrash said. “Melissa and I had so much fun, and we are so thankful for all of our gracious hosts. There is nothing like having a Westmont police car pull up in your driveway with lights flashing and haul you away to dinner.”
Westmont Chief of Police Tom Mulhearn organized the entire event and played host for the evening – picking up the couple in his squad car, transporting them to a booking room and snapping mug shots, then serving them dinner in the holding area.
“Not many people get to see the inside of a police station, and if they do, it’s usually not on very good terms,” Mulhearn said. “We wanted to make a donation to the chamber, and we thought that this would be something unique, something different, and hopefully something that the guests will never forget.”
Mulhearn said Westmont police worked out a temporary contingency plan with the Downers Grove Police Department, so nobody else would occupy the jail during the meal.
Mulhearn added that, since he was the officer working during his off hours, no resident tax dollars were spent in the process.
The Westmont Police Department hosted a similar promotional dinner about seven years ago and since then, residents and officers have asked whether the department would ever rehash the idea.
“Former Westmont Chief of Police Randy Sticha came up with the idea, and people regularly ask me if we would ever consider doing it again,” Mulhearn said.
So, when the Westmont Chamber asked Mulhearn for silent auction gifts, the chief of police decided to give it another go.
“It’s a lot of fun for everyone – myself included,” Mulhearn said. “It’s a great way to spend an evening, and all the money goes back to the chamber.”
Local restaurants J. Fleming’s Absolutely Delicious, Sweet & Savory Spot and La La Li Patisserie provided the food while Phillips Flowers donated a centerpiece and photographer Martika Gartman took pictures.
Westmont Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau President Gregg Pill extended his thanks to Mulhearn and the police force for their support.
“We want to thank the Westmont Police Department and all of the businesses who stepped up to be part of this special promotion,” Pill said in a press release.
During the 2013 Winter Ball, the Westmont police also auctioned off private tours of the department.