ANDERSON, SC (WSPA)–If you’re in Anderson, get your taste buds ready. The city has started a week-long initiative to keep downtown restaurants and businesses sizzling through the pandemic.
7-News crews took to the streets to see how the city is coming alive one bite at a time.
Typically, the City of Anderson would be preparing for a one-night “Fresh Taste” event to highlight unique dishes across town. However, due to COVID-19, the city has added a new spin that will last throughout the week. The City hopes this will boost the downtown economy.
“It’s been a struggle, I must admit to make ends meet during this time, but I do think there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Steve McCuen, Owner of Shucks Oyster Bar.
McCuen might see a sign of hope this week, thanks to the City of Anderson’s “A Fresh Take on a Fresh Taste” initiative.
“It typically happens in one night in Carolina Wren Park. People go around and try all of the dishes, then cast their vote for the favorite dish of the night, and that one wins a cash prize,” said Caroline Gaddis, Business Education & Event Manager for the City of Anderson Economic Development.
“However, this year, we had to get creative with Fresh Taste. We could not have a large gathering on one night. So, we spread it out over six days. So, there’s 12 participating restaurants downtown this week. You can go in lunch or dinner, dine-in or carry-out,” Gaddis said.
Each restaurant has partnered with a local farm to create a farm to fork inspired dish that will be voted on by you at the end of the week. The overall goal, is to give life to businesses who went dark during the pandemic. The city also wants to get more people safely out and in restaurant doors.
“I think it’s excellent to get people moving around downtown. There were several restaurants on the list that I had not heard of, so I’m excited to check them out,” said Bethany Turner, restaurant goer.
As you experience your favorite eateries, masks requirements are still place, and hand sanitizer stations have been installed to keep everyone protected.
“The long-term goal in this, is we want to show people to come downtown. Get involved. Get back out there. It’s safe. We’re excited to have people downtown. So that’s ultimately the goal, to help boost the economy and get everyone excited about what we have going on down here,” Gaddis said.
“We wanted to support our downtown merchants, downtown restaurants. This has been such a crucial year for them, so we wanted to show them we support them and we have their backs,” Gaddis added.
Most of all it’s all to keep your bellies filled, and all the hidden restaurant gems thriving and alive.
“I would hope it brings volume up. I would hope that people will come and experience Shucks, or another restaurants, and maybe they haven’t been here before. Maybe they haven’t come downtown, so hopefully they will come. Enjoy their experience, enjoy the food, enjoy just being downtown, and then, come back,” McCuen added.
Shucks Oyster Bar has partnered with Holiday’s Veggie Patch to create the Shucks gumbo with peppers, okra, and crawfish cornbread.
Other participating restaurants include:
–Carolina Bauernhaus Brewery & Winery partnered with The Reid Homestead & Oconee Hope Farm (Local Seasonal Charcuterie)
–Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill partnered with Happy Cow Creamery (Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese)
–Groucho’s Deli partnered with Palmatier Farm (Blueberry Cheesecake Cookie)
–The Local Uptown partnered with Orchard View (The Cheesy Pig Burger)
–Taco Loco partnered with Walker Century Farm (Taco Salads)
–Fig Cafe and Farmacy partnered with Sharon Hill Farm (Homemade Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings)
–Earle Street Kitchen & Bar partnered with Split Creek Farm (Scallopini Chicken, Prosciutto Ham, 3 Cheese Collard Stuffing, and more.
–MaKi Sushi Bar & Bistro partnered with Providence Farm (Korean Barbeque Short Ribs)
–Doolittle’s Restaurant partnered with Greenbriar Farms (Smoked Apple Pork Chops)
–Summa Joe’s partnered with Split Creek Farm (Pork Chop with Potato Cake and Tomato Bacon Jam)
–Mr. Rivers Breakfast Joint partnered with Walker Century Farm (Sausage Gravy and Homemade Biscuit)
The City of Anderson and restaurants are also giving out $5 coupons, which acts as gift cards. They can be used at participating diners to help cut the cost of your favorite dish.
The Fresh Taste competition will run through this Saturday. At the end of the week, all votes will be tallied from the downtown Anderson Facebook page. There will be a first, second, and third place winner, but only one restaurant will take home a giant fork trophy as their crown.