Treating Morgantown residents to a taste of the town, Saturday will commence the Morgantown Culinary Crawl, showcasing some of downtown’s most popular eateries in preparation for Morgantown’s debut Restaurant Week.
Students enrolled within a strategic events planning course at WVU’s Reed College of Media teamed with Main Street Morgantown to conceive and coordinate the event. The class has also partnered with community stakeholders Morgantown Social Networx, the Monongalia Arts Center and Greater Morgantown CVB.
Sydney Haley, a senior strategic communications student with an emphasis in public relations, along with her team of fellow classmates, has assisted in every step of the event’s execution.
Haley said her professor, Geah Pressgrove, decided to add an element to this year’s Morgantown Culinary Crawl by extending a week-long event in Restaurant Week where downtown restaurants can participate in showcasing specialty dishes for discounted prices.
"It has been a lot of fun, but also hard work," Haley said.
"I have definitely learned a lot in the process. Working with our Morgantown clients and the different businesses has been a great learning experience, it really shows you what to expect in the real world."
Haley said she feels this event will help locals rediscover the culture and amazing food in downtown Morgantown by visiting businesses in the area. The WVU senior said she couldn’t think of a better way to help the community while having a great time.
The event will attempt to revamp the downtown Morgantown economy by featuring the diverse culture within downtown restaurants and businesses. The Morgantown Culinary Crawl will allow individuals to taste and sip samples of various courses and beverages from participating restaurants. With more than a dozen restaurants participating in the event, the self-guided tour will allow participants to browse featured restaurants at their own pace, following given maps to avoid any confusion.
Restaurants Chico’s Fat, the Morgantown Brewing Company, Sargasso, Table 9, Apothecary Ale House and Café, Garcia’s Latin Market, High Street Pasta, T.K.’s Juice, Tin 202, Black Bear Burritos, The Cupcakerie, Iron Horse Tavern, The Vintage Room, Sugar Bear’s Wall Street Grill and Zaytun will partake in the event. Each downtown eatery will showcase a special course of their choice from "Devil’s on Horseback," from Table 9, to a seasonal cupcake treat from The Cupcakerie.
Of the participating restaurants, Black Bear Burritos will prepare their specialty dish inspired by Yucatecan cuisine. The restaurant will serve a house fried tortilla cup filled with shredded achiote chicken garnished with pickled onion and served with a side of refried garbanzo beans. Kitchen manager at Black Bear Burritos, Ben Brady said the shredded chicken is rubbed down with achiote paste, a marinade that is composed of ground annatto seed. Brady said the chosen dish inspired by the Yucatan region was chosen based on the restaurant’s popular special featuring the refried garbanzo beans.
"The beans are super smoky," Brady said.
"They’re cooked down with onions and garlic, they’re so good."
The dish will also be paired with a craft beer, compliments of Chestnut Brew Works. Brady said events like the Morgantown Culinary Crawl encourage a strong sense of community among downtown businesses.
"I feel like the sense of community is just getting stronger and stronger here in Morgantown every year with events like these," Brady said.
"It’s really good to connect us to other businesses and for us to directly talk to our customers instead of being in the back and cooking. It’s cool to see the customers’ reactions to the food." Brady also said Black Bear Burritos will house its original aesthetic, where local craft beers will be served with the specialty dish, while the restaurant is filled with live, local music.
The Morgantown Culinary Crawl will start at 3 p.m this Saturday at The Monongalia Arts Center. For more information on the event, visit http://morgantowneats.com/.