Foodie Update: What is Dishcrawl?

Posted on August 12, 2013 by

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Dishcrawl company restaurant tour

A pubcrawl. Whether or not you enjoy drinking, I’m certain that most of us would be able to provide an adequate definition of the word. Now suppose someone asked you to define the word “dishcrawl.” You’d probably have a good idea what to say, but you’d also want to know more about it, and where you can get started!

Dishcrawl is the name of an event-centered company that caters to the foodies as well as the regular diners. Based in California, the company has local representatives serving in over 100 cities across the US.

I was recently able to talk to Melanie Bianco, the Richmond area representative of Dishcrawl, to ask her more about the company and the upcoming Richmond Dishcrawl “A Mile of Style – Carytown Dishcrawl” on Tuesday, August 13th at 7pm.

And, get excited… there’s even a special offer for Cville Niche readers! Find out more >>

Q&A with Melanie Bianco, Richmond Dishcrawl Ambassador

Tell us where you’re from.

I’m originally from Northern Virginia, but grew up mostly in the Charlottesville area.  I moved to Midlothian temporarily this June and just moved into the city last week.

Tell me about the Dishcrawl group. What is a dishcrawl?

Dishcrawl is a startup formed in 2010, based in California.  A dishcrawl is very similar to a bar crawl, but instead focusing on food (even better!).  Our goal is to get the community engaged and for people to have a unique dining experience and meet new people.  It’s not often that as a guest in a restaurant you have the opportunity to learn about the creativity that lies behind your meal.

Describe the setup of a Dishcrawl event. What should attendees expect?

We will all meet at the first restaurant, most people get there early to get drinks and sign in.  We will be served food and be spoken to by either the chef, owner, or manager about the restaurant and the food we are being served.  Drinks are all paid for separately on each participant’s own.  We stay at each restaurant for about 45 minutes tasting chefs’ specialties and having the opportunity to meet and speak with those behind the establishments.  We will walk to and from each restaurant, so they are all pretty close to each other.  For the first three restaurants, we will enjoy a trio of items at each location.  This is kind of like a tapas style event.  At the fourth restaurant, we will have a dessert.  The portions are smaller, but by the end of the night, you will be full and will have eaten the equivalent of a full meal.

We feature only local restaurants that are doing great things with food and in their communities, whether that’s being super involved or sourcing their ingredients locally.  We do not work with chain restaurants.

dishcrawl night out example

A NIght Out With Dishcrawl

Are the events just limited to food, and are there any other type of themes that Dishcrawl follows with these events?

Dishcrawl is all about food.  We don’t really focus on drinks but sometimes it’s fun to work with a restaurant to do a pairing of local wines/beers or something with the food.  Typically there are not themes to Dishcrawls, but occasionally there can be.

I’m hoping in the future to do a taco crawl, food truck crawl, brunch crawl – things like that.  Dishcrawl (the company) puts on larger events for those Ambassadors who work full time, such as Neighborfoods, Brew Benefits, private events, and more.

Describe Dishcrawl in 7 words or less.

Delicious evening meeting people & learning your community.

What are the future goals of the Dishcrawl group?

Dishcrawl is hoping to revolutionize the way we eat.  We love to support restaurants and chefs who work hard to bring us the freshest and the most unique foods possible to our communities.  We’re in over 150 cities between the US and Canada and are growing rapidly.  The farm to table movement is also growing and it’s something that we believe in.  We want our participants to get out of their normal routine and have a unique dining experience, so our goals to spread this mission to as many people as possible!

What do you love most about working for the organization? What’s the toughest part of the job?

I first saw an ad posted for this position on Craigslist.  I was instantly curious and thought “What in the world is Dishcrawl??”  I did a little research and just became very excited about the opportunity.  I’m trying to break into the event/conference/meeting planning field and this is a perfect way to do so.  I knew I’d gain a lot of experience in event planning, utilizing social media, and make many connections here in Richmond.  It doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge foodie and love tasting new creations and trying new restaurants.  It’s fun and challenging all at the same time, as Dishcrawl is based in California and I work virtually from home (and the not-so-occasional coffee shop). I get to go out in the community, meet and work with people, and eat lots of yummy food along the way.  🙂  I’m learning a lot and really enjoying it!  It will definitely help me in my future endeavors professionally.

The toughest part of the job is trying to get restaurants and media on the same page with me.  These people are super busy all the time and you really have to be pushy about getting answers from them, which can be uncomfortable at times.  You have to be very active and have a good presence on social media handles as well.  I wasn’t using Twitter before, but I now use it about 20+ times a day.  We rely heavily on social media to get the word out, so Facebooking and Tweeting constantly are very important.  I create my own original posts, replies, and share/retweets especially with restaurants, newspapers, bloggers, online publication editors and prominent figures in the community.  That’s how we get people to hear about us.  It has definitely taken a lot of getting used to!

Is Dishcrawl something that Charlottesville will see in the future?

I am hoping to gain exposure for Dishcrawl in the Central Virginia area and hopefully bring it to Charlottesville soon-ish.  While Dishcrawl is not advertising for Ambassadors in Cville, if someone is interested in bringing Dishcrawl to Cville, they can contact headquarters about it.  Charlottesville will be a great place for it!  http://dishcrawl.com/careers/ has more info!

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