On June 17, foodies will be crawling all over Manatee County.
The Manatee Chamber of Commerce is making sure of it with its second culinary crawl. The chamber debuted the event last August and received such a positive response that it decided to schedule another one for the summer with four different routes.
Participants who purchase a $50 ticket will climb aboard a “luxury coach” bus and embark on one of the four culinary crawl routes:
- The Wild West route, which takes participants to restaurants west of U.S. 301 (Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside, Mountain Comforts Coffee Cafe, Fratello’s Chicago Pizzeria, Kite’s Corner, Pier 22);
- The Island Time cruise, featuring restaurants on Anna Maria Island (Beach House Waterfront Restaurant, Wicked Cantina, AMOB on the Pier, Mar Vista);
- The North River Rambler, which spotlights riverside restaurants in Bradenton and Sarasota (Back Bay Grill at Terra Ceia Bay Golf & Country Club, Joey D’s Chicago Style Eatery & Pizzeria, Riverhouse Reef & Grill, Blu Mangrove Grill);
- The East Express, which focuses on establishments east of U.S. 301 (California Pizza Kitchen, Polo Grill & Bar, Pincher’s, Poblano’s Mexican Bar & Grill, Half Shell Seafood House).
The ticket includes transportation costs, food samples, bottled water during the tour, a commemorative beverage cup and a goody bag.
Jahna Allen, the Manatee Chamber’s vice president of community development, said the level of interest generated four routes this year.
Last year, the chamber planned one route for the crawl, but ended up adding a second at the “last minute” because of the response.
“We felt that we needed to provide exposure to members in different geographic areas,” Allen said.
As of Thursday, the chamber had registered about 75 participants. Each crawl bus can accommodate 45 people.
Lynn Lineman, a recently retired Bradenton resident who spent 40 years working in banking, attended last year’s crawl with his wife, Beth Browning. The two had an eye-opening experience on the crawl’s island route. They plan to attend this year and will be bus captains on the North River Rambler route.
“We were like, ‘Why didn’t we do this on our own?’ ” Lineman said. “It widened our follow-up list of places we would go and enjoy lunch or dinner.”
Lineman went to a progressive dinner with a church group a few years ago, he said, where they had appetizers at one restaurant, entrees at another and dessert at a final location.
“I guess that would be the closest thing,” to the crawl that he’s done, Lineman said. He and Browning enjoyed the foodie tour not only because of the food samples but also because they had a chance to meet restaurant owners and employees, and experience the atmosphere of each place.
The crawl is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for each route.