With Beefsteak you get fun and good will
Sayville Rotary district governor-elect Shawn Weis, of Bayport, and Sayville Rotary president Sabra Fowler show off the filet mignon, corn and beefsteak tomatoes to be served at the upcoming Sayville Rotary Beefsteak.


With Beefsteak you get fun and good will


West Sayville- You can have your steak, eat it, too and feel really good about it at the Rotary Club of Sayville Beefsteak on Aug. 10.

Your ticket helps pay for Gift of Life youngsters from other countries who require life-changing surgeries, water projects, and the funding of local organizations including food pantries.

Bayport resident Shawn Weis attended his first in 2000. “My impression was that it was exciting and overwhelming because I was running back and forth with corn replacements,” he recalled. “I was told, ‘you do corn.’” The butter in the pan that tipped over on his shirt wasn’t a big deal, just messy. No matter. Weis kept returning and volunteering. A former president, he is now a Rotary district governor-elect.

The popular Sayville event that began in 1952 takes place at the Long Island Maritime Museum. Friends and neighbors meet up and chow down on clams and ice-cold beer, sliced filet mignon, corn on the cob and tomatoes (the beefsteaks), and schmooze across picnic tables. The hijinks are many, thanks to the weather that usually holds, the breezes from the Great South Bay and the camaraderie. And oh, those sunsets.

Even the Kiwanians get in the act; Garret Lacara saved the event in 2003 by hauling in a generator when a power outage socked the area. And it’s not just area residents who come; ticketholders hail from as far east as Greenport and Center Moriches. 

But along with the tradition of the fundraiser, there is the important element of the secret sauce that gets ladled onto the steak and tomatoes. It is ironclad. No one knows what goes into it. Except for Sayville resident Peter Weigel, who took over from Chuck Raynor in July 2006. “In the beginning, we used lard, now it’s butter,” Weigel said, revealing a sort-of-comforting fact.

Raynor, who gave up his master-of-the-secret-sauce status when he moved, was challenged with making it up himself when George Argondizza died in 1973. (Argondizza, the proprietor of the iconic Beer’s in Sayville, got it from a Mr. Freeman.) Raynor had to concoct it from members’ recollections — a little of this, a lot of that, then added his own take. (Raynor is an excellent cook.) 

Sayville Rotary president Sabra Fowler commented on some of her goals this year: increasing membership and more service projects, adding this important one. “We’ll be doing a heroin awareness project,” she said of the current scourge.

Joe DeVincent, chairman of the Gift of Life program, added that a child from Kosovo was scheduled for surgery on Aug. 9 at St. Francis Hospital; he was hoping she could attend. “She’s getting a transcatheter to close a hole in her heart,” he said. “It’s usually a 45-minute procedure.”

As for the Beefsteak event, “It brings us together with the larger community to be part of our work in Sayville and around the world,” he said. 

The Sayville Rotary Beefsteak event will take place on Thursday, Aug. 10. Ice cold beer and clams at 5 p.m., beefsteak at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $70 in advance, $75 at the door. Call Eileen Tyznar for tickets at 631-662-2160.