Food and beverage has always been a pinnacle of events, but in a social-media age we are bombarded by information, images, and insurmountable opinions of the food and beverage available at any given destination. We watch the trends, immerse ourselves in how-to YouTube® videos, Pinterest® boards, and the ever growing number of cooking shows on our TVs.
Let's look at a different way we can engage our groups through culinary experiences outside of our meetings and events.
As planners, you work with catering teams to provide meals and snacks you hope will be hits among attendees. As an avid traveler and adventurer, I enjoy searching out unique food locations to hit up prior to or after events. Here are a few ways you, as a planner, can help other 'foodies' in your group make the most of their journey to your next meeting or event or even entice individuals to attend.
Pizzeria Lola in Edina, MN was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. This neighborhood pizzeria produces house-made fennel sausage and fires a pizza like none I’ve ever had. (My favorite is The Forager - crimini, shiitake, and portabella mushrooms, taleggio, fontina, tarragon, and truffle oil with my personal addition of the fennel sausage.)
I have also enjoyed a dinner out at The Bachelor Farmer, in Minneapolis,MN, after reading Chef Paul Berglund had become a 2016 finalist in the James Beard Chef Awards in the Midwest. The menu rotates often as fresh sourced ingredients are added to the kitchen. (Don’t miss the Toast Plate of smooth duck liver pâté, preserved vegetables, and mustards!) And for those of you who love a great speakeasy endeavor, Marvel Bar, located in the basement of The Bachelor Farmer is a wonderful place to enjoy a superb cocktail and friendly conversation, if you know which door to enter.
The 2017 James Beard Foundation winners were announced in May, with many outstanding locations and chefs representing the Midwest.
Topolobampo, Chicago, IL (WINNER)
Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Fat Rice, Chicago, IL
Sarah Greenberg (WINNER)
Monteverde, Chicago, IL
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark
Parachute, Chicago, IL
Boka, Chicago, IL
Nico Osteria, Chicago, IL
Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Tilia, Minneapolis, MN
Ardent, Milwaukee, WI
Brewer's Table at Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN* (Set to close in early August 2017.)
*is also listed in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Kevin Nashan (WINNER)
Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis, MO
Farmhaus, St. Louis, MO
If you are looking to up your attendees foodie experiences, look no further. View your state at www.DinersDriveInsDivesLocations.com and start planning ways to incorporate the food into your next event, use the information to entice attendees, or map out the area for groups to enjoy in the evenings. Bon Appétit!