Over 30 local Richmond restaurants are gearing up for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce’s annual Taste of Richmond event, which officially began Monday.
Every year, the local chamber hosts an event at the Richmond Centre featuring booths and tables representing restaurants and businesses who are members of the chamber.
The participating restaurants provide samples of their food to attendees.
But for the 2020 event, both chamber and non-chamber businesses were asked to take part in the Taste of Richmond celebration to bring awareness to all area businesses.
According to Mendi Goble, the president of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, restaurants have taken a big hit since the pandemic began, and the event was designed to encourage citizens to continue supporting local businesses.
“Anything at all that we can do to drive people to businesses and dollars into businesses that is a huge thing,” Goble said. “Restaurants have taken a huge hit, so it is a win for us, and a win for them.”
Unlike past years, the event will continue for two weeks, giving patrons a chance to drive all around town to find food, instead of just one night.
From Sept. 28 through Oct. 9, participants can visit local restaurants and bring in "passports" to be "stamped with a sticker" by each participating restaurant they visit for dine in, carryout, curbside or delivery.
Passports can be printed on the chamber's website, or picked up in one of the 30-plus participating restaurants including Brady’s Sushi and Hibachi, Newby Country Store, Madison Gardens, Straight From Texas Barbecue, Burgher Burger and Dreaming Creek Brewery.
On October 9th the "passports" with the most "stickers" will be entered into a drawing for cash prizes and gift cards; winners will be announced during the Richmond Centre Summer Concert Series.
According to Goble, some prizes include a large cash prize, a 50-inch television donated by Colonel Delivery, and many gift cards.
Goble said both herself, and the business owners are excited about the event.
“A lot of our businesses are very excited and some said, ‘We love the Taste of Richmond event, but I can't afford to close my store and go out, or I don’t have enough help.’ That is a lot of it; is not having enough man power, but we are still super excited with what we came up with.”
Brandi Bowles, owner of Vintage 18, agreed. Throughout the two-week period, Bowles said, Vintage 18 will feature a two-person special for $30 that she hopes will bring new people through the doors.
“We are so excited to participate in the Taste of Richmond even though it is a bit different than what has gone on in the past,” she said. “We hope it will bring just a little bit of normalcy back into the restaurant industry.”
Even those who have never been included in the event before, such as Jason Vaughn, the manager of Madison Garden, are looking forward to participating.
"This is our first time being involved," Vaughn told The Register. "We are excited to offer our awesome burgers with our house made special beer cheese. It is truly like no other. We appreciate the chamber for the invite and making new procedures to keep everyone safe."
Goble thanked the sponsors, and everyone who has helped the event take on its new form this year.
“A huge thanks to our sponsors and those that believe in businesses and Richmond, and want to see those people be successful,” Goble said. “That is really what this event is for, to help us do that.”
Download and print your passport at RichmondChamber.com or pick one up at any participating restaurant.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6695 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.