uac082014001.gif Downtown Fayetteville is packed with diverse restaurants offering varied and delicious food. The Fayetteville Downtown Alliance and the Downtown Fayetteville Restaurant Association have figured out just the way to showcase them. On August 20-22, the community is invited to join the Small Plate Crawl to enjoy a little taste of all of them and discover all the enticing dining options downtown has to offer.

Visit www.faydta.org, download a passport and prepare your palate. During the three days of the plate crawl, bring the passport to participating restaurants, order a small plate and enjoy. Get the passport stamped by three restaurants and become eligible for prizes. The plates cost between $5 and $10 and vary from place to place.

Pierro’s owner Michael Laurenceau is excited about this event and has come up with an enticing plate that includes caprese, bruschetta and a homemade meatball and crostini. “This is just a really fun way to show people how many great restaurants we have downtown,” said Laurenceau. “We are one of the bigger places downtown and sometimes when I ask people who come here if they have tried many of the other places, they are surprised to hear how many different choices they have for dining in downtown Fayetteville. This is a great way for them to see more of what downtown has to offer.”

“Each restaurant has its own flavor and your taste buds will be jumping with joy. It is a small sample of what each restaurant has to offer and a low-cost, fun way to build our customer base with people who may not normally eat downtown,” Anthony Jackson, the owner of Circa 1800, said. The hope is that a little taste will bring people back for more and introduce people to restaurants outside of their usual haunts.

Thanks to the dedication and hard work of many, over the past few years downtown has blossomed into an exciting and thriving place. The Small Plate Crawl encourages further growth, but also highlights the great things already present. “When you shop, eat, and live in downtown and visit the local shops they are all locally owned. Ninety percent of the time, you will meet the owners. This is where we live and work and we pour our hearts and souls into it. You won’t get that from chain restaurants. This will let people see what we put in - the passion - and taste good food in the process.” Jackson explained.

“We’ve been downtown for about eight years,” said Laurenceau, “and it has been encouraging to watch it grow. Things have changed a lot and I think that the more we can get people to see that the more they will come downtown and enjoy all the things we have to offer. Our establishment has done well enough that we were able to open another Pierro’s in Hope Mills this past January and we are excited to be a part of the good things going on downtown.”

Circa 1800 is one of the restaurants participating in the crawl. The restaurant prides itself on using as many local ingredients and products as possible. The bounty of North Carolina is truly on display here. The cuisine for the crawl is Southern-inspired, but much more than the plain fried chicken that comes to mind with the mention of the word southern. “We are trying to present Southern fine dining like you might find in Charleston or Savannah. We will have shrimp and grits with whatever is fresh for that day. We use local produce so our vegetable changes every week,“ says Jackson.

The small plates range from $5 to $10 and if anyone in the group orders a plate, everyone receives a “passport stamp.” “The plate will be a little smaller than an appetizer. If you bring five people in, it will be big enough for each of you to have a bite. One of the main things we want to get across is that a small plate is a small plate. It is not a meal, it is a sample of the restaurants,” Jackson said.

Each participant receives a passport to chronicle the experience. The passport is stamped at each restaurant they visit. Crawlers should leave their passport at the last restaurant they visit at the end of the three days. Those with stamps for two or more restaurants will be entered into a drawing. Winners will be notified by email. For more information or to download a free passport visit www.DTAFay.org. All restaurants begin serving at 11:30 a.m. and all but the Fried Turkey Shop will continue until 9 p.m. The Fried Turkey shop will end the crawl at 2:30 p.m.

There will be a drawing on Aug. 25, to see who will get the prizes. The prize packages include:

One night stay for 2 at Medaloni Cellars with Wine Tasting in the Chateau Bergeron (Cabin) http://www.medalonicellars.com/ ($500 Value)

• Movie Date Night from the Cameo (Tickets for 2)

• $100 Gift Card from Sysco

• $25 Gift Certificate for The Butcher and The Baker

• Brewery Tour from Railhouse Brewery in Aberdeen

• Cooking Class for 2 people at Sherefe’s

• Wine Class for 2 people at The Wine Cafe

The restaurants participating in the event include: Circa 1800- Opened in 2009, this restaurant provides a true taste of what North Carolina has to offer. Nearly all of their products are locally sourced, even the spirits. Their vodka, gin, beer, and rum all come from local legal distillers.

Huske Hardware- This establishment is a unique mix of a restaurant, pub, and brewery called a gastropub. Simplified, it means that there is great food and phenomenal beer. They carry five house brews year round and at least one seasonal brew.

Pierros Italian Bistro- The classic Italian fare and warm rustic atmosphere combine to create a relaxing and welcoming meal at any time of day. Whether stopping in for a glass of wine from the most diverse wine selection in Downtown Fayetteville, or a hand cut steak the experience will be fantastic.

The Wine Café-A glass of wine paired with slice of cheese is a classic and beautiful combination. The Wine Café elevates this experience by providing unique small batch wines from around the world and artisanal cheeses. They also have a unique interactive tasting experience that utilizes automated self-dispensing units for the wines.

The Blue Moon Café- Fresh skillfully prepared food and craft beer are the center of what makes The Blue Moon Café an incredible restaurant. What could surpass sitting on the spacious patio surrounded by the beautiful brick buildings of downtown Fayetteville enjoying a flavorful cold brew and a gourmet sandwich?

The Tap House- the Tap House is an offshoot of Huske Hardware. It offers the same high quality of food and brews in a more sports bar themed atmosphere. The food also has a more classic sports bar theme, but with the same high quality as with Huske Hardware.

Sherefe- Sherefe brings a taste of Greece to downtown Fayetteville. The bright flavors mimic the sun-filled beaches along the Mediterranean Sea and the fresh North Carolina produce makes it all the more flavorful. They also pride themselves on being vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free friendly.

Off the Hook- This isn’t your average taco joint; in fact, nothing they serve is average. They take incredible flavors and dishes from around the world and condense them into a stunning four-bite taco. Their combinations are unexpected and unique, but always delicious.

Marquis Market- Today there is coffee everywhere, but the question is, is it good coffee? The Marquis Market is dedicated to bringing the most authentic and delicious coffees from around the world to the public in a sustainable and responsible way. Their passion for quality is also exemplified by their diverse menu

A Taste of West Africa- A meal at Taste of West Africa is a journey. This honest home cooked food transports you to an entirely new culinary continent and tells a story of passion and commitment. The recipes and traditions are ancient, but the love and ingredients used to make them are fresh.

The Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop- Since 2008 the Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop has been providing the community with quality sandwiches of all kinds. Of course, the moist and flavorful fried turkey is the star of the menu, but their other options are crafted with the same care and passion. Every dish is a blue ribbon winner. This shop will be participating from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

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