Since the Indiana Foodways Alliance has promoted restaurant trails winding throughout the state that are devoted to certain foods.
The organization lists restaurants that serve a specific type of food, lines them up on the map by location, and encourages people to follow the trail, eating their way along. Membership requires restaurants to be locally-owned, and approved through assessments that confirm a level of quality.
Whether pies, tenderloins or ice cream are your go-to food, or something else, there is likely a trail for it. Following a food trail is a fun way to discover new-to-you establishments, taste some of the most scrumptious food and drinks around, and get motivated to explore different communities.
Indiana foodways alliance promotes local flavor one trail at a time
Currently, more than member food—and beverage—places in Indiana have been divided into 21 trails. For instance, Superburger in Paoli named their Triple Newk burger after a local teacher.
Today, Shirley still runs her restaurant with the same passion she did back in IFA is a nonprofit run by a volunteer board of directors and trail membership continues to grow. Restaurant members pay fees to or some area visitors bureaus pay the fees on their behalf.
The organization conducts visits to the restaurant locations before a member is approved. Each member restaurant is exceptional, as determined by on-site assessments and tastings.
We also find out pertinent information on the restaurant like seating, group seating, do they use locally-grown products in their food, etc. Once the restaurant or business is assessed then they are officially a member of the organization and placed on trails.
For about fifteen years, sometimes off and on, various members worked together from visitors bureaus and other organizations in Madison, Grant, DeKalb, Allen, Huntington, Delaware and Hamilton counties. They brainstormed, tried programs to attract more tourism, conducted research, and created a long-range development and marketing plan for the corridor.
Happy eating on the hoosier pie trail
Ultimately, the group was renamed and IFA was born. Maureen Lambert, marketing and tourism director for the Anderson Madison County Visitors Bureau, was a founder of IFA and has continued to play a key role throughout the years. Pam Sanders has seen success due to IFA membership. Her son, Brad, owns Mecca tavern in Parke County and she helps with promotion.
When she had an opportunity to the tenderloin trail, she was hesitant.
They call. Within a week of being listed on the Tenderloin Lovers Trail, the bar went from serving 20 tenderloins a week to 40 and has since been selling 60 to 80 per week. And restaurants may be a deciding factor in when visitors are planning their next trip, according to Ashley Gregory, director of sales for Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette.
When people travel, they always want to know where the locals eat and what food item that area is known for. Locally-owned restaurants are typically the more unique places that have that iconic food item and where the locals like to hang out.
Everyone is talking about it, taking pictures of it and of course eating it! I think more people are traveling for food and enjoy trying different things which in turn has helped IFA grow. We now include more communities throughout Indiana, have more trails and we continue to work to get the word out about the local places.
Rohrer believes that IFA has a bright future and will continue to grow, prosper and boost state tourism. This has created a hunger—pardon the pun—in the culture for truly unique and wonderful food experiences, something that often the locally owned restaurant down the street or a county over can provide. IFA is in a wonderful position to provide that experience.
We give access to the best of the best where discovery before was often only by luck or happenstance. The trails are our way to help tell that story.
Enjoy tasty tenderloin sandwiches on the Tenderloin Lovers Trail. Prepare your taste buds for these Culinary Trails. Couples Cooking Class at the Nestle Inn. Cooking Classes at Nestle Inn. All rights reserved.