Hartford restaurateurs strengthened their partnerships with hospitality marketers on May 29 through a special dining tour of downtown.
The Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the event for its members who boarded a double-decker bus, where Hartford's restaurants could offer samples of their food during the tour.
For the marketers, the opportunity to get to know downtown's restaurants should enable them to speak more knowledgeably to potential visitors. For the restaurants, the tour increased awareness and future business prospects.
Each of the seven participating restaurants offered menu items highlighting their specialties.
First came Italian wine bar Bocca Rossa on Main Street. Members provided business cards to qualify for the communal raffle while sampling bruschetta and wine.
“We've been here three years, and people still have no idea we exist,” said Chris Bigliardieri, owner of Bocca Rossa. “This will get the word out to help people realize how much really goes on downtown.”
Next came Burger Baby, a modern American burger bar on Asylum Street. Employees boarded the bus with hamburger sliders and excitedly chanted, “Burger Baby loves you!”
Beyond the food, the dine-around offered the restaurants and participants the opportunity to strengthen their business relationships with other downtown professionals through the lively interactions and spirit on the bus.
City Steam Brewery & Café, a microbrewery on Main Street, provided specialty beer for the bus riders. Agave Grill, a modern Mexican grill and tequila bar on Allyn Street, distributed house margaritas.
The Russian Lady, a sports bar and lounge on Ann Uccello Street, served mini chicken salad sandwiches, focusing on menu items with fresh ingredients and an emphasis on healthy eating.
At Black Bear on Allyn Street, a pub-style restaurant and bar, guests sampled buffalo chicken bites and fried macaroni and cheese. The staff handed out promotional coupons, providing incentive for future business.
The Tavern Downtown on Allyn Street, a typical saloon with a contemporary pub twist, discussed its eclectic variety of beers and most popular menu items — lobster macaroni and cheese and, for dessert, the cheesecake.