The parking lot was full and the line of dinner guests was out the door and around the corner by 5 p.m. Friday before pasta was even placed on the first plate.
No, it wasn't the opening of a new Italian restaurant, but just about every one of them in the area was represented at the buffet table. It was the ever-popular 17th Annual serving of the SOLID All You Can Eat Pasta Dinner in the ballroom at St. Nicholas Greek Church in Northridge.
SOLID (Supporters of Law Enforcement in Devonshire) is made up of community volunteers who supply the Devonshire Division police officers with supplies, equipment and police station upgrades that the city fails to provide.
Ticket-takers said hundreds of guests paid $8 a head to enjoy unlimited pasta, pizza, salad, garlic bread, sub sandwiches, sodas and sweets. By 7 p.m., when the crowds thinned out, it was as if locusts had descended, devouring every morsel.
But during those couple of hours, old friends reconnected, neighborhood council members talked politics, LAPD Devonshire Captain Kris Pitcher and his officers worked the room, and police cadets and PALS members worked cleanup.
Politicos were there too. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, competing for the same Valley congressional seat, kept to opposite sides of the room. Assembly candidate Ed Headington was there with his family. Also attending were former Assemblywoman Paula Boland, former Congresswoman Bobbi Fiedler and former Councilman Greig Smith. Councilman Mitch Englander, a police reserve officer, acted as master of ceremonies.
SOLID, with assistance from the neighborhood councils, has provided Devonshire Division officers with professional gym equipment, an updated and remodeled roll-call room, and a high-tech tactical training facility.
Donations of food and supplies came from: San Carlo Italian Deli, Olive Garden, Cavarettas Italian Deli, Casa de Pizza, Realtor Ken Sampson, Maria's Italian Kitchen, Numero Uno Pizza, Ameci's Pizza & Pasta, COSTCO, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Altadena Dairy, Delicious Bakery, Dream Dinners, Straw Hat Pizza, Romano's Macaroni Grill, Chi-Chi's Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, Leveque Insurance Services, Minuteman Press - Northridge, Subway Sandwiches, Pizza Ola, Domino Pizza, Johnny's Pizza and Pizzasaurus Rex.