NEW BEDFORD — Since its launch, New Bedford Food Tour reintroduced the dining scene to locals (and tourists) with their picks of some of downtown’s most delicious secrets.
“We still can’t believe how many people don’t know what New Bedford really has to offer — even people who’ve lived there for years,” said Sara Gonzalez, who works with his wife, owner Pamela Shwartz. of the gastronomic visit. .
First discussed at a table at Izzy’s in April, the tour is now a reality for the foodie duo. The tour has already shared some of the city’s tastiest treats and restaurants with more than 50 groups since its launch in late June.
“People have been really excited that have been on the tour,” Gonzalez said. “And the restaurants have been equally thrilled to partner with that.”
On September 29, Jim and Susan Okolita of Middleboro were on one of the afternoon food tours led by Shwartz. Jim Okolita celebrated his 66th birthday.
“We came to New Bedford…but we’ve never really been to New Bedford,” he said. “That’s why we were interested – we haven’t really sat down or really gone to the area and it’s in our backyard.”
Gonzalez said that had been the main focus of the food tour — to reintroduce locals and nearby residents to the city and what it has to offer people.
“We have a certain narrative that we kind of wanted to tell about the city and the culture of the city,” she added.
Who and what is on the food tour?
During the Thursday afternoon tour, guests enjoyed food from The Baker, Izzy’s Restaurant, For the farmhouse tavern and The popular press as well as an exhibition at the Star Store and a glimpse of the interior The living room.
Along the way, about a mile walk, Shwartz dotted the history of the town and the stories behind some of the buildings.
Highlights include The Baker’s linguica cheese roll, which is a soft, all-butter dough rolled around Amaral’s local linguica and American cheese in a pinwheel style.
“I’ve never had a cheese roll like this in my life,” said Jim Okolita.
The Okolitas also got to try a Cachupa Rafugado at Izzy’s, which is a slow-cooked stew of corn, collard greens, cabbage, beans, sweet potato, eggs, and linguica.
At Pour Farm Tavern, the candied bacon appetizer is what it looks like – thick smoked bacon, sugar coated, candied and served on a stick.
“It’s really good,” Susan Okolita said. “Just wow.”
Gonzalez noted that there are also a few other versions of the tour, depending on weekdays or weekends, along with a few other locations.
“You can come to a few of them and have a different experience each time,” she said.
Share new places with everyone
“It’s a great idea, every major city has a food tour and now New Bedford will too, thanks to them,” said Brandon Roderick, owner of The Baker.
“We’re just one of two Cape Verdean restaurants here,” said Servulo Pires, who works at Izzy. “We’re grateful to be on the tour and sharing with people who don’t know us.”
Owner Izidora Andrade said people came back for lunch saying they discovered her through the food tour.
While on tour, Shwartz met a former guest, Alanna Nelson.
“It was a fun activity, everyone had a great time,” said Nelson, who comes from Marion. “It was a great way to show off New Bedford.”
She discovered Wings Court on the tour and now visits the area frequently. She has also returned to Izzy’s and The Baker since the tour. “The food is so good. I had no idea,” Nelson added.
“It’s so good to hear,” Shwartz said. “That’s what we want to happen after the tour is over – for people to visit these places again.”
Besides seeing people salivate over the food, Shwartz said his other favorite part of the tour was meeting new people, especially locals who have interesting stories about growing up in the city.
“You see people’s faces and they start remembering things that they’ve completely forgotten about,” she said. “It’s been really wonderful and lovely.”
Shwartz, who is also a fourth-generation New Bedford resident, recalls the story of a group of women remembering a strip club near the Zieterion Theater.
“She said her dad used to sneak her in when she was a kid and she remembered thinking, ‘Why do these girls take so long to undress? I can do it so much more fast than they?’ It was cute,” Shwartz said.
Another group from Switzerland said the baker’s pastries were on par with the croissants they get locally.
Shwartz said a woman who leads a food tour in France also took part in the tour and commented on how impressed she was with the food in New Bedford as a whole.
Hoping to spread all over town
Gonzalez said that as they started to gain momentum with tours, they were approached by other restaurants to be part of the experience. However, with two children of their own, they hope to get some extra help soon.
She hopes they can hire more tour guides and work to expand to other parts of New Bedford such as the south and north.
“Downtown is great, but there are also some great places outside of that area that we want to showcase,” she said, adding that they also wanted to offer a “brunch” tour or ” cocktail”.
For Jim and Susan Okolita they said they would come back and re-watch all the spots after having a great time on the tour.
“It’s so good to hear. We want people to come here and recognize all the great food here,” Shwartz said.
“New Bedford is really changing, especially the food scene, and we want people to know that.
“And I think so far it has worked.”
Seth Chitwood, Standard-Times editor, can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.