Organizer Ellie Hensley, the ambassador for the four-restaurant Decatur Dishcrawl, said the eight-stop Neighborfood is “like a treasure hunt.”
“Their ‘ticket’ is a map they’ll get at check-in with all eight restaurants marked on it,” she said. “People will walk around with their families or the groups they came with at their own pace, and try the places in whatever order they want.”
The places serving samples of their specialties are Big Tex Cantina, Swirlin Twirlin, Sawicki's, The Square Pub, New Orleans SnoBall Café, Green Ginger, Colbeh Persian Kitchen and Native — A Local Joint.
Native owner John Mathews said his 6-week-old “seasonal, casual comfort food” restaurant is named after him.
“I’m the native. I was born and raised in the Decatur area. I’ve lived here all my life,” he said.
Although a novice restaurateur, the former Turner Broadcasting executive is backed by the experience of his award-winning executive chef, Chris Gould.
“He studied under [celebrity chef] Paul Prudhomme in New Orleans. He was K-Paul’s sous chef,” Mathews said about Prudhomme’s restaurant. “I convinced [Gould] to make his way north.”
Gould will prepare duck jalapeno poppers for the event’s 35 ticketed guests, an opportunity nearly missed.
“They had a cancellation and we were happy to participate,” Mathews said.
Not only does the event provide more visibility for the fledgling eatery, its charitable aspect dovetails with the core values of the “joint.”
“It’s called ‘a local joint.’ That’s what we’re trying to be. We want to be involved in everything that goes on around here. We like to say our patrons are our neighbors,” Mathews said.
A portion of the event’s $45 ticket will benefit Decatur’s own Breakthru House founded in 1969, Hensley said.
“They're Georgia’s first long-term residential recovery center for women, and though they run on a very small staff, they do some great work and are some of the kindest, most hardworking people I’ve ever met,” she said.
One of those staff members is Development Manager Allison Blum Myers, who said the contributions will be welcome.
“They will go toward scholarships for homeless women who are in need of addiction treatment,” she said about expenses of up to $1,250 per month.
She said the nonprofit is honored to be the event’s beneficiary.
“We love being part of the Decatur community so we’re excited to be part of this event where everyone gets to taste all the delicious food of Decatur,” she said.
If you go:
When: Saturday at 2 p.m.
Where: downtown Decatur
Cost: $40 online, $45 at check-in