Monday, June 15, 2009

Eat local ... personified

Twenty-six Charlotte restaurants have banded together to create Eat Charlotte, a group promoting independent, locally owned restaurants in the area and looking to gain some economies of scale in advertising and mutual promotion.

Andrew Blair's, Aquavina, Barrington's, Blue, Bonterra, Cafe Monte, Carpe Diem, Customshop, Fenwick's, Global, Good Food, LaVecchia's, Las Ramblas, Latorre's, M5, Mimosa Grill, Nix, Noble's, Pie Town, Press, Ratcliffe on the Green, Rooster's, Sonoma, Upstream, Zebra and Zink hold their first promotion beginning June 19: Half-price bottles of wine through June 27.

Founder Briana Cohen -- general manager of Press, Pie Town and Sonoma -- says in a tough economy, independent restaurants "can't just leave the market like corporate ones can. How do you advertise and bring new people in when it's such a stretch on your advertising budget?"

Eat Charlotte member restaurants put in equal amounts of money to buy advertising, produce a by-neighborhood dining guide that will be available in each restaurant, and pay for a Web site -- EatCharlotte.net, slated to go live June 19. Cohen says the group's initial goal will be to make sure Charlotteans and visitors are aware of its members.

Plans also call for joint philanthropic efforts, such as funding a culinary scholarship. Members are discussing charities they might work with, too. "Once we get it going," says Cohen, "we can sit down and focus issue by issue."

19 comments:

sally said...

noted that they are upscale and way too expensive for the average family

barkomomma said...

Oh, I can see hundreds of posts that never display for this one. :)

Michael said...

Did ANYONE think twice about the name that was chosen???

And does anyone think it won't be long before it's changed?

Anonymous said...

They shouldn't all form a group like this. If each one is good enough to survive it will be because of what they serve and how they serve it, not cause they joined some large group.

I will try and not go to one of these now for trying this guilt trip idea of "Eat Local".

If you are Local and Great, word of mouth and your own reputation will take very good care of you. It's not too difficult.

Slow Food said...

Are they going to also pledge to "buy local" when choosing their meats and vegetables? I know at least one of them serves only organic, but it'd be nice if they'd also support local farmers exclusively, and ideally to support organic and Certified Humane food producers.

Anonymous said...

first, to save dollars, dont advertise. if your place is good enough, repeat customers and word of mouth should suffice. next, if you are still turning a profit while offering wine at half-price for the month, then why is so much being charged for wine the rest of the year?!
you shouldn't have to join with 26 other restaurants to tell the public you're a good place to eat.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic

Anonymous said...

I would be much more excited if these were really "mom & pop" local restaurants. Some of these are almost mini-chains in that they are owned by a group. oh well. The smaller, FAMILY run restaurants are the ones I'm worried about.

Jack Jones said...

A Charolottivore consumption- hope they are not listing "the big bird" processing companies as local

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with them banding together to advertise. Most are very nice restaurants and I'd encourge others to try them. However I don't feel guilty about eating in a restuarant that isn't "local" and also I find it interesting that M5, Zink, Mimosa and Upstream are listed when they are all owned by the Harper's group. Yeah it's a local COMPANY (with franchises around the country) but isn't it a little odd to try and promote local restuarants while at the same time benefitting from owning a large chain of restaurants? Sure dilutes the purity of the message - I'm surprised the other restaurants allowed them to participate!

Anonymous said...

How about an article on local restaurants whose average meal costs less than $10? No wonder these business are having a hard time. In this economy who has the money for fine dining? I've dined at a few of these restaurants and in my opinion you do not get what you pay for. The restaurants who thrive give you more than your money's worth.

Anonymous said...

What isn't mentioned about this group is that is is sponsored and funded by Gallo Wines. This is a program to promote their wines in the Charlotte area.

Anonymous said...

i think it is a great idea, but the naysayers are at it again. When the big chains advertise no one complains, but when the local restaurant businesses come together to ask for local support, they have negative comments. Isn't there enough negative news out there already? Don't we care about the local business guy? Must we have the Walmart mentality?

Anonymous said...

I am with the 8:53 anon. Why can't we support the local people, celebrate what we have and not have to find the negative in EVERYTHING that goes on around here???

Anonymous said...

Great, These restaurants may finally be able to compete with the money the chains have to advertise with.

Mark said...

Are you negative folks kidding me. There is more restaurant talent written about in this article then there is in the Tri State area. Get over yourselves.

the hammer said...

Of the 26 participants in Eatcharlotte, 26 support our community...always the same guys at charity events providing for those in need. CFF, Heartball, Jewish Preschool, YMCA, OMNI, Hands for Haiti, Taste of NFL, Community Culinary School of Charlotte, Second Harvest, Dore Academy and dozens if not hundreds more.

Most of us support local farmers and other independent business. Of course our efforts are not totally selfless, but contributing is the point.

If the restaurant business was easy, you can bet everyone would be doing it...4 out of 5 fail in first 3 years...

God bless their efforts.

Paul Talbot said...

Paul Talbot, President, Talbot Corporate Services, Inc.

I find it amazing that something like Eat Charlotte which has the stated intent of growing business in Charlotte is being attacked. They're not increasing prices to fund their venture, and they are giving back to the community in the form of charitable donations and scholarship money. I support what they're doing in every respect. They are competing for business alongside the large regional and national chains, and are not trying to push them out of town. Competition makes it better for everyone as they all strive together to ensure that Charlotte continues to offer great dining options for everyone.

Anonymous said...

YEAH GUYS LOCAL RESTAURANTS SHOULD NEVER ADVERTISE OR PROMOTE OR NETWORK THEY SHOULD JUST MAGICALLY BE SUCCESSFUL AND COMPETE WITH GIANT CHAINS WITH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN THEIR MARKETING BUDGETS PULL YOURSELF UP BY YOUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS I LOVE EATING AT MCDONALDS WHARRRGARBBBLLL