Scrumptious Summerville Kitchen tour

Jean Rettig and Sara Hughes at the Scrumptious Summerville Kitchen Tour. File

The ongoing problem of staff shortages in the hospitality industry isn’t just hindering restaurants from serving their customers. In some cases, it’s preventing them from serving their communities.

A popular fundraiser for the Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center has long relied on Summerville-area restaurants to donate their time and talent to the annual event, which features chefs cooking in showcased private homes. This year, though, the restaurant roster looks significantly different than the lineup presented in years past, in part because longtime participants couldn’t spare their employees.

“Many have already given their current kitchen staff additional hours for regular service and just cannot ask them to work an extra afternoon, as well,” says Marilyn Kaple, publicity chair for the 17th edition of the Scrumptious Summerville Kitchen Tour.

According to Kaple, short staffing was “not the sole determining factor” for restaurants which dropped out, but she anticipates the services of Dorchester School District Two culinary students will be especially appreciated by chefs along this year’s tour route.

Many of those chefs hail from the chains and expansion locations of downtown Charleston restaurants which now dominate Summerville’s dining scene. Among the 17 restaurants scheduled to participate are Five Loaves Café, Carolina Ale House, Newk’s Eatery, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Poogan’s Hospitality Group.

Kaple points out the tour this year is welcoming one locally-owned addition. “Ray & Whitney Easler, who own Eva’s On Main, called and asked if they could participate. Eva's has never done this before, but they are very excited to support the DCAC mission.”

Scrumptious Summerville will take place from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 6, regardless of the weather. Advance tickets are $50; remaining stock will be sold on the day of the event for $65 apiece. For more information, go to scrumptioussummerville.com.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.