VOL. 129 | NO. 59 | Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Dishcrawl Memphis Cooks Up Busy Schedule
By Andy Meek
Like the diners who flock to its ever-expanding menu of opportunities to enjoy the culinary best of Memphis, Dishcrawl Memphis has a full plate in front of it.
On the heels of selling out a “Secret Supper” and three Dishcrawl events already this year, April will see Dishcrawl host its “Secret Supper 3.0” on April 1, followed by a “Best of the Bars” crawl on April 9. The secret supper event will take place at a location in East Memphis that hasn’t been disclosed yet, and the bar crawl will focus on a selection of pub food found in some of the bars Downtown.
After that, a Harbortown Crawl is planned for May, and a food-truck themed crawl is happening in June.
“Locals can also expect to see another Battledish event this summer, like the one we did here last fall where six local chefs battled chefs in other cities across North America for the title ‘King of Battledish,’” said Kim Fuqua, whose title is manager of food adventures for Dishcrawl in Memphis. “A chef in Miami won the overall title, so I’m hoping Memphis can take it this year.”
For Battledish, the group of Memphis chefs faced off by preparing dishes to see whose would be judged the best in a variety of categories. It’s a typical Dishcrawl organization event that is focused on food and bringing people together.
Dishcrawl, which is part of a national movement, kicked off in Memphis in 2013. As a testament to how well the events have been received, the organization has brought on some new “Dishcrawl Ambassadors” for Memphis – Hollye Taylor and Yashica Perry.
Fuqua said Perry grew up in Memphis and spent seven years in Chicago, bringing a “sophisticated foodie palate” with her back to Memphis. Taylor, meanwhile, has worked on a local food truck, volunteers at the Downtown Farmers Market every weekend and helps her father with his barbecue business, and the pair collectively brings what Fuqua described as an “infusion of creative ideas” to the organization’s efforts.
Dishcrawl events already held this year include a Night on the Square crawl in Overton Square in February, then a Savory Chocolate Crawl in Downtown’s South Main neighborhood for which chefs attempted to surprise guests with different ways chocolate can be used.
In March, the organization took 25 guests up and down Main Street to three brunch stops as part of the Downtown Trolley Brunch Crawl, with all-day trolley passes included.
In addition to all that, Dishcrawl also has launched a VIP club called Tastemakers. Through the club, Fuqua explained, participants will be privy to things like weekly offerings of specially created non-menu items at local restaurants, monthly Happy Hours and a variety of related swag.
Dishcrawl was founded in 2010 and quickly made its way around the country, spreading to cities like New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, and also expanding outside the country to places like Montreal and Toronto.
The signature Dishcrawl event is similar to a pub crawl. It’s basically a guided and usually walkable culinary tour that brings foodies together to explore different restaurants in a single night.
There tends to be a theme that ties the evening’s restaurants together. Part of the fun also is in the surprise of which restaurants will participate, since the locations are kept secret until 48 hours before the event.