No one who attends The Gravy Cup is in it for the nutritional value of the Southern staple.

But if offered an opportunity to do some day drinking, and to sample some tasty variations of the traditional dish on a Saturday afternoon for a good cause — we’re in.

Zach Fry believes The Gravy Cup is likely to attract 800 people to the Mellwood Arts Center to sample more than three dozen versions of the breakfast treat on Feb. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Zach Fry
Zach Fry

Fry came up with the idea of a biscuits and gravy contest in 2012, shortly after a visit to New Orleans, where he was inspired by sampling Creole recipes that included hot pepper sauces. The local real estate professional posted the idea of a contest among local chefs on Facebook, and was encouraged enough by the response to hold the first one at The Monkey Wrench three weeks later. 400 people showed up.

Since then, the idea has grown enough that it has moved first to the Vernon Lanes, then to Diamonds on Barrett for two years, and this year for the first time to the Mellwood Arts Center. You can get in for $15, with proceeds benefitting Boys and Girls Haven.

“We raised $15,000 last year, and hope to double that this time,” said Fry, who has organized the event by forming a small board and recruiting several dozen local chefs, who contribute their time and food to the cause. Sponsorships are being sold ranging from $500 to $10,000.

Among them are the defending champions from Con Huevos on Frankfort Avenue, who offer a version called Chipotle Poached Huevos on their breakfast menu. It includes chorizo, poached eggs, chipotle gravy, avoidaco and is served with fruit. Their version is entered in the Non-Traditional category. There’s also a Vegetarian version and Traditional.

Winners in each category get a trophy, Fry said. The judging criteria are taste, presentation and originality.

He’s still recruiting restaurants, but the list so far is impressive. Among the judges are Michael Crouch of Bistro 1860 and The Fat Lamb’s Dallas McGarity.

The list of local restaurants participating includes Finn’s Southern Kitchen, Cafe Lou Lou, Noosh Nosh, Checks Cafe, Highland Morning, Gospel Bird, Butchertown Grocery and the Red Barn Kitchen.

For more info, check out their Facebook page.

Here’s a 2014 video from the event.