Bon Appetit set a new record with its Nashville Grub Crawl: the event sold out within 48 hours, the fastest yet, outpacing larger cities including New York and luxury destinations like Park City, Utah.
The event – which brings guests to a city's food hotspots in a progressive, boozy dinner of sorts – has gotten more popular in its third year, but Nashville's hype outside of the 615 area code is real, said Bon Appetit Publisher Pamela Drucker Mann.
"People are really intrigued and really excited, and there's this interest in what Nashville is all about, the food scene in particular," said Drucker Mann, who added that a "decent percentage" of the tickets sold to these events are to out-of-towners. In total, about 275 tickets were available (and sold) for this weekend's event.
Bon Appetit is no stranger to Nashville's food and culture. The New York-based magazine has shared Hattie B's hot chicken recipe, named Rolf and Daughters one of the country's best new restaurants, ate its way through the city with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and launched its music promotion here last summer.
"Bon Appetit fell in love with the city of Nashville and its awesome intersection of food and music and that's what we're about," said Drucker Mann. "We're about food and lifestyle … you can't really find that in most cities."
I talked with the city's tourism chief Butch Spyridon about the shift in his team's marketing and promotion of Nashville. Music will always be at the heart of the city's brand, but he's putting more dollars into lifestyle categories like food, drinks, fashion and art, which all pair well with music.
"When we pick a city for a Grub Crawl it's almost like declaring them a culinary destination. I think there's a lot of obvious food cities out there and I think there's a lot of less [obvious]," said Drucker Mann.
Nashville, of course, being among the less obvious, even as the city's food and chef profiles rise, when compared against places like New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
"There are so many examples of good food. If you look at the [Bon Appetit] Hot Ten in America, one of them was a food truck. It's the combination of food, and music ... it's about a uniqueness, and having a point of view," Drucker Mann said of what makes a culinary destination.
The Nashville Grub Crawl will span from Deb Paquette's Etch to Robert's Western World, with stops for craft cocktails, BBQ and Yazoo beer along the way.
"There's something authentic about Nashville that you're not going to find in another city," said Drucker Mann. "It's all about food culture."
Written by E.J Boyer
Article from Nashville Business Journal