Dishcrawl: ‘Pub crawl with food’ event coming to Toledo March 12Written by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A new trend in restaurant touring is coming to Downtown Toledo.
The city will host its first Dishcrawl at 7 p.m. March 12. The event consists of a walking tour of four restaurants in the Downtown area.
Here’s the catch: The names of the restaurants and the meeting location will not be revealed until 48 hours before the event — though some hints will be dropped via social media.
Brenda Woods, Dishcrawl’s Toledo ambassador, said the tour will feature a variety of small tastings, with dessert served at the final stop.
“Each restaurant presents a showcase of their best dishes,” she said. “It’s basically like a pub crawl with food.”
The chef or the owner then speaks to the group, and introduces them to the restaurant and how it was founded.
The concept of Dishcrawl was started in San Jose, Calif., in 2010 by Tracy Lee, a “foodie” who was working the corporate world. Lee decided to turn her attention toward startups and culinary interests.
“I started Dishcrawl because I wanted to do something I loved with my life,” Lee said. “Combining food and community through an event resonated with the people around me,”
Dishcrawl was not intended for profit at first, but rather “just for fun.” Lee contacted local restaurants and organized structured walks through them. Her idea immediately drew interest.
“The first time I threw a Dishcrawl, I simply put it out there on the Internet, and 90 people came,” Lee said.
Dishcrawl has since begun to spread across the country, and more than 100 events have taken place or are starting up in more than 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including Detroit. When Dishcrawl is being established in a new city, the company hires an official “ambassador” to promote the event throughout the area. According to its Facebook page, Dishcrawl is consistently looking for new employees.
Woods affirmed the event could be repeated with other Toledo restaurants, and in other parts of the area, as long as the locations in each crawl are within 15 minutes from one another, on foot. She also explained there are no official criteria for choosing the restaurants, other than geography and local flavor.
“For the first one, we were focusing on Downtown Toledo, so we reached out to restaurants [there]. It’s kind of a first-come first serve basis for choosing them,” Woods said. “The only [other] stipulation is that it is a local, privately-owned restaurant, and not a chain.”
For the first event, 25 tickets will be available, at $45 per person. If those sell out, the maximum number is bumped up to 40. Woods noted that, if the Dishcrawl Toledo debut is a success, the city might be hosting the event more often.
“It absolutely could be something that could go on once a month. It just depends on the response,” she said. “There are some cities that have one almost every week.”
Woods added that the true appeal and value of the Dishcrawl is the sense of camaraderie one feels when taking part.
“It’s [not only] a chance for people to get out and try restaurants that they maybe haven’t been to before–it’s also about community. It’s a very social thing. Everybody sits together in a group, and you get to know the other people on the Dishcrawl with you.”