Dishcrawl is a new Memphis event that combines three of my favorite things – food, new friends and adventures – into a single, super fun evening.
Dishcrawls are a series progressive dinners where you and 40 other foodies eat your way through a specific neighborhood over the course of an evening. It's like a pub crawl, but with food instead of beers.
The organizers are big on secrecy, so while they'll tell you which neighborhood you'll be crawling, they won't tell you where to meet until the day before, and they don't tell you what other restaurants (or how many of them) you'll be visiting.
About 24 hours before the South Main crawl, I got an email instructing me to be at Rizzo's Diner at 7 p.m. When I got there, I was given a nametag and told to sit wherever I wanted.
I should take a second to mention that, while Dishcrawls are perfectly welcoming to singles, most people on my crawl had brought a date or a friend or a posse of some kind, so I felt a little weird being there there alone at first. It was fine though; people were friendly, and by the third stop, I had made friends.
Almost as soon as everyone had gotten settled, we got little sampler plates of food with pork spring rolls, a miniature version of the lobster Pronto Pup and the "grit and grind", a fried ball of quinoa stuffed with goat cheese. We stayed at Rizzo's for about 45 minutes – long enough to eat, chat and have a drink – before we were ushered to the second location.
At Grawemeyer's, we each got a sampler plate of German food: house-made sausages, hambugers and secret family recipe potato salad. From Grawemeyer's we walked to Spindini, where we took over the upstairs banquet room and ate ravioli, scallops and crab cakes. For dessert, we walked across the street to the Corked Carrot for cupcakes and a wine tasting.
Each stop (after the first one) lasts about 35 minutes, and the routes are carefully planned to make sure that each stop is within walking distance. The organizers also take pains to make sure that everyone can eat, regardless of dietary restrictions. Though the plates are all small, you'll leave full.
If you're the kind of person who regularly eats in a given neighborhood, you probably won't find anything new on a Dishcrawl, other than friends. They're great, though, if you're unfamiliar with a particular neighborhood's food offerings or want to try a handful of new places in one night.
Each crawl costs $45, which includes food at four restaurants. They sell out quickly, so keep an eye on their upcoming events or sign up for their email newsletter.