Have you entered my giveaway for a Coventry Village-inspired change purse? You have until May 23rd at 11:59 pm.
There’s no doubt that Northeast Ohio is in the middle of a culinary renaissance. And while the neighborhoods the chefs call home are benefitting from their presence, the restaurants are likewise finding inspiration from the history and uniqueness of the area.
Todd Gauman, Pat Johnson and Melissa Looney saw this and wanted to put something together that would educate and entertain others about the connection between the two.
With NEO Food Tours, they’ve created a series of events that will combine the best of both worlds: dining and learning about the restaurants from the chefs themselves while exploring the history and culture of our neighborhoods. They premiered their guided walking tours at the end of April with a sold-out tour of Ohio City.
To follow up with the success of that event, NEO Food Tours will be heading to the eastside on June 1 with a tour of Little Italy. The walking restaurant tour of this historic neighborhood will meet at La Dolce Vita Bistro at 6:30 pm.
La Dolce Vita’s owner Terry Tarantino – one of Little Italy’s most passionate advocates – will be the special guest tour guide for the evening, sharing stories from the neighborhood’s past and present as the small group strolls from stop to stop.
In addition to La Dolce Vita, the tour will make stops at Gusto, Murray Hill Market, Michaelangelo’s and Trattoria on the Hill. An intimate, progressive course dinner will unfold – starting with an opening course at the first restaurant and concluding at the last stop with a sweet and savory dessert.
At each restaurant, the small group of guests sits for approximately 20 minutes, talks with the chef or owner about what inspires their culinary creations, and enjoys a small off-menu plate paired with a specially made beverage to complement the food’s flavors.
You can buy tickets for the Little Italy tour here.
NEO Food Tours’ Little Italy event comes just in time for the neighborhood’s first Art Walk of 2011, which takes place June 3-5. So after you’ve learned about the neighborhood and experienced its restaurants through the eyes of one of its avid supporters, you can come back for a second helping that weekend to explore its art galleries and shops.
After the Little Italy trip, NEO Food Tours will bring monthly tours to the region on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm. The next one on June 22nd will explore Tremont’s colorful and varied personality. The food tour series will then rotate through the Westside, Eastside and Downtown neighborhoods – as well as outer neighborhoods and suburbs, giving guests an opportunity to fully experience the region’s culinary renaissance.
If you’re still hungry, there are a wealth of events coming up to satisfy your palate. One week from today on May 27 will be Emerging Chefs’ next dinner – Mardi Gras en Mai. The menu was just released (can’t wait for the mango habanero popsicle!) so once you take a look, buy your ticket and join me at what will be another very unique dinner.
Other culinary fun includes:
- C-Town Chow Down‘s Monthly Food Truck Convoy
- Patio Parties like Greenhouse Tavern’s Rooftop Beach Party
- Dinner in the Dark fundraiser for the Matthew Finkel Food Network Scholarship
- Silver Spoon Awards for the Arthritis Foundation’s NEO Chapter
- Chef Jam at the Rock Hall
Between NEO Food Tours and all of the other events, I’m looking forward to a very appetizing few weeks.
NEO Food Tours 411:
Disclosures: Clue Into CLE guest blogger Elizabeth Grepp and I were asked to assist NEO Food Tours with their PR and outreach and I am a member of Emerging Chefs’ Affiliates program. The opinions in this post, though, are 100% my own.