“The concept really came from a conversation I had with Bob Smith over at City Cellar and Loft,” said Tara Currier, manager of the Cartersville DDA. “We were talking about the Taste of Cartersville and he said, ‘You know, I really wish there was a way we could get people into my restaurant. I want them to see what the atmosphere is like, meet my wait staff, be able to smell what’s coming from the kitchen.’ And so from that is really how Sample Your City came to be.
“It is a great opportunity. You don’t just get to taste a lot of great food offerings from our downtown restaurants, but you get to smell the food actually be cooking in the kitchen and get to meet the wait staff and really get a sense of the atmosphere, the decor and just how the whole restaurant is overall. So it really entices all your senses, not just the taste.”
This year’s participating venues will include Agan’s Bakery, Coconut’s Ice Cream, Culinaria, E Street Tavern, Findley’s Butcher Shop, Jefferson’s, Louie’s Café, Meg Pie, Quizno’s, Swheat Market and The City Cellar & Loft.
With more than 160 tickets sold for the initial event, Currier hopes its positive turnout and feedback will help grow this year’s offering. Among the favorable comments collected by the Cartersville DDA following 2012’s Sample Your City was a remark by Seth Hopkins, executive director for the Booth Western Art Museum.
“My son, Stephen, and I enjoyed Sample Your City as a unique father/son experience,” stated Hopkins in a Cartersville DDA news release. “We attempted to hit every location in one evening, but that proved to be undoable because we were enjoying the food, friendly people and atmosphere at each stop. It was much more enjoyable than having everybody in one place, it felt like a scavenger hunt.
“We each visited places we had not been before and places we had not visited in a long time. We also learned about menu items and types of food we did not realize were available downtown. One place did such a good job selling us we came back the next night to eat off the menu. It was a great way to learn more about what is here in our backyard.”
Costing $10 per person, tickets can be purchased in advance at some of the participating businesses and at the Downtown Cartersville Welcome Center — inside the old Train Depot at One Friendship Plaza — Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on this cash-only event, visit www.downtowncartersville.org/event/sample-your-city to view participating venues and their offerings or call the Welcome Center at 770-607-3480.