Easing the burden of downtown business owners, Sample Your City is a reinvention of Taste of Cartersville to bring guests inside participating restaurants for samples and additional promotions.
“When I came on board, I made a point to stress to the merchants that just because we’ve done things historically, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to do it the same way. In getting feedback on Taste of Cartersville, a lot of downtown restaurants were explaining how difficult it is to man two different stations that day. In addition to running their restaurants, they were having to set up the food outside and some were afraid the quality wasn’t as high,” said Tara Currier, Cartersville Downtown Development Authority manager. “So we thought about making it a progressive event where guests actually come into the restaurant to get a sample. Not only do they get to taste what is offered, but they get a feel for the atmosphere and service and the other senses of what the restaurant is.”
Falling during the busy autumn festival season, Sample Your City will take place during the week, Thursday, Oct. 11 and Friday, Oct. 12. To participate in Sample Your City, guests must purchase a ticket at the Cartersville downtown welcome center in the historic train depot. Cards can be presented at 13 local restaurants and shops for food and beverage samples as well as special gifts and discounts. Currier was excited to bring non-traditional eating establishments on board for the fall food event.
“Findley’s Butcher Shop is participating and Meg Pie, which is mostly known as a retail shopping establishment, but they also have that wonderful coffee shop in the back that many don’t know about,” Currier said. “There are also restaurants offering additional incentives for people, hopefully, to spend money there. Maybe by buying a drink or a food item, you get a discount. For example, The Loft is actually having free billiards for anyone with a Sample Your City card. So there’s lots of perks for purchasing a card, not only to taste the samples, but getting some gifts and discounts too.”
Agan’s Bakery, Coconuts Ice Cream, Findley’s Butcher Shop and Meg Pie will join the cast of regular downtown restaurants and Moore’s Gourmet Market from the neighboring West End Historic District for the event later this week. Nancy Childs, co-owner of Meg Pie with Deborah Ballew, was glad to have a chance at participating in the food-centric event so that guests can learn about their coffee shop offerings in addition to retail goods.
“As new owners, we were very excited to be included in Sample Your City. We hope this will be an occasion for those who haven’t visited Meg Pie to come give us a try. A lot of people don’t know that we have a full-service coffee shop,” Childs said. “When they come in to visit, we’ll have a couple of our blended coffees ready to be sampled. We’ll have samples of some of the cakes we serve and we just started serving some of our seasonal drinks, like our pumpkin patch latte.
“This is a great opportunity for the public to come downtown and see all the great dining options we have available in downtown Cartersville, and they’re all provided by hometown folks. You don’t have to drive a long way to have a great meal. You can just come down to downtown Cartersville.”
In addition to the establishments listed above, Appalachian Grill & Culinaria, E Street Tavern, Jefferson’s Restaurant, Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse Express, Quiznos, Swheat Market Deli, Tacos N Subs and The City Cellar will be giving samples and discounts to card-carrying participants of Sample Your City on Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m. and Friday from 2 to 7 p.m.
Sample Your City tickets can be purchased, in cash, at the train depot welcome center each day this week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are good for one sample at each participating location. For a full list of restaurants, samples and promotions, visit www.downtowncartersville.org and click on “events calendar.”