Word of Mouth(s):

Eat Detroit Steps up to the Plate for Local Restaurants


Eating out in New York City and San Francisco can be difficult because of the abundance of choices available on every block - indecisive diners have been known to pass out from hunger within equal distance of seventeen restaurants. Detroit suffers from a different problem: there are plenty of unique and excellent places to dine - but often because of the city's fragmented infrastructure and pedestrian unfriendly layout, people have trouble finding them. So, while a person may have a particular hangout or two, exploring new venues is all too infrequent.

Enter Eat Detroit: a new venture which promises to unravel some of the mystery in finding great places to eat in the city. By promoting synergy between Detroit restaurants and combining their individual advertising muscle, the organization could be an indispensable resource for diners.

Eat Detroit came about from the efforts of Lee Padgett, owner of Café de Troit and tireless supporter of the city. Padgett had been brainstorming for ideas to bring in more traffic to her coffee shop and nearby eateries, when a friend of hers mentioned a dining card he received at a hotel in a city in another part of the country. The card had a list of 10 restaurants on it, and over the course of his stay in that city, he ended up going to all of the eateries listed. These ideas converged for Padgett and she set about finding the right partners to make the project possible. Web designer Bobby Alcott, owner and founder of Woodward Media Group, and Sharon Jaimes, a former HR Specialist for the Department of Defense, both Detroit residents, heeded Padgett's call to arms (or is that forks?) and Eat Detroit was born.

So what exactly is it? On the web, Eat Detroit provides free of charge a comprehensive listing of every restaurant within the city limits. For a small level of financial participation, restaurants can have links to their individual websites, or even if no such site exists, have one built by the Eat Detroit team. In the near future, the site promises to offer other info on downtown hotels, reviews of restaurants, and more.

The physical aspect of Eat Detroit comes in the form of a card with the names of ten restaurants (along with any discounts an individual restaurant may wish to offer) printed on it as well as a sponsor ad, which may or may not be a restaurant. By putting multiple advertisements on a single card, the cost to the individual restaurateur is significantly reduced, making widespread awareness more feasible. These cards (which boast a clever die-cut "bite mark" cut out of one of the corners) will be distributed to hotels and other local businesses, Wayne State University students, and will also be available at People Mover stations.

By working together, these restaurants can reach out to a lot of potential diners that they wouldn't have the budget or the resources to connect to on their own. While it certainly should make an impact on the individual destinations, this marketing strategy also goes a long way towards promoting the image of the city as a whole. Detroit has a proud and unique heritage of creative, independent dining destinations. Eat Detroit just may make it possible for more of these to be discovered and enjoyed by all. - Nick Sousanis

To check out their restaurant guide, or to find out how to be a part of this organization, check out EatDetroit.com.

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