SUDBURY -- Those taking part in the annual “Dining in the Dark” event will have to rely on touch, taste and smell. It’s all taking place on Feb 25, 2020 at Cousin Vinny’s restaurant in Hanmer. 

Funds raised will be going towards the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

“It’s obviously a great opportunity to work with a non-profit organization but at the same time to do something different,” says Chris Vitiello, the restaurant owner. “We’ll definitely do a soup and some appetizers and a main and we obviously do dessert. Those are pretty much the four courses. We’re not going to let you know exactly what the items are.”

Tickets are $50 for adults and $40 for youth 18 and under. Specifically, the funds will be used for a program offered by the CNIB called Phone it Forward.

“We’re taking peoples used cellphones that are donated to us and then we clean them and we put apps on them and then we train people with vision loss to use those smartphones and we provide them for free with 6 months data plan cause those phones really are enabling people to live much more independent lives,” says Devin Shyminsky, manager of community giving. 

The idea for the event is inspired by a restaurant in Toronto and Montreal called ONoir.

“They actually do it in the pitch dark and that’s because their servers have vision loss so they don’t actually need the light but here at Cousin Vinny’s, if we turned off the lights all of a sudden I think we would notice their servers would have trouble working so instead were going to use a blind fold,” Shyminsky added.

Ray Emmell participated in last year’s event and says he can’t wait to see what this year will bring.

“When we ate I found it very difficult or different to be able to pick up my food off the plate with a fork or a spoon or even using a knife to cut some foods. It was very interesting. I loved that experience and I recommend it to everyone.”

Last year the event brought in over $3,000. Shyminsky says he is hopeful that this year will be an even bigger success since many community sponsors have signed on to help support the event.

Dining in the Dark” will also take place at Verdicchio Ristorante on March 26th.