The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation has found another way to share the fascinating history of the city and its downtown corridor.
Heritage Food Tours will be conducted four times each month, and participants will sample popular and unique menu items from various downtown restaurants while discovering interesting historical facts about Winter Garden and its past. Those taking part in the tour can learn about the architectural history of the Plant Street corridor and hear about the city’s unique culture.
WGHF board member Jennifer Talbot has been overseeing the new project and has recruited a few friends to help conduct the walking tours.
Three different options are offered — all with four or five stops — on various days of the week: Happy Hour Tour, Saturday Brunch Tour and Family & Fido Friendly Foodie Tour. There are evening and weekend options as well.
The tour incorporates about two miles of walking spread out over two-and-one-half hours. There are four twenty-minute seated food stops along the way, in addition to stops of interest downtown.
The Happy Hour Tour includes three adult beverage samples paired with several delicious appetizers and bites of local cuisine — think sliders, tacos, burgers, flatbread and martinis. The brunch tour includes champagne and other adult drinks as well as nibbles such as French toast, chicken and waffles, or croque-monsieur. The Family & Fido tour is designed for children of all ages and/or pets and features a fun few hours of scavenger hunts, ice cream floats, pizza, hot dogs, dog treats and a picnic blanket.
Folks can eat or drink extra at each stop but must be prepared to pay the bill..
HOW IT CAME ABOUT
Talbot enjoys traveling, and when she goes to other cities, she likes to take the food tours to discover the local flavor. She thought that could be a great retirement project for her in Winter Garden, so she began researching the idea last year. A local couple, Jamie and John Baylor, were conducting their own food tours in downtown Winter Garden but had since stopped the business.
“I set up a meeting with the Baylors, and I thought at first maybe I could do this as my own business,” Talbot said. “But then I thought, ‘Let’s run this through the heritage foundation and incorporate some of the history.’ They were already doing some of that. They agreed to sell it.”
The WGHF receives all monies above the cost of food and gratuity.
Talbot said downtown Winter Garden is the perfect area to conduct such a walking food tour.
“I think that Winter Garden has a lot of pride in the downtown area and has a lot of history, a lot of the restaurants are in historical buildings, and I think, more than anything, it’s a great way to take your out-of-town guests to brunch or a meal,” she said. “You don’t have to cook, you get to try … different restaurants, and you get a full meal, and you get a little taste of the history of the town. I think a lot of people are really proud of this town.”
Jim Crescitelli, WGHF director, is thrilled to see this addition to downtown Winter Garden.
“Our food tour, which takes place in the downtown historic district, will rightly whet diners’ appetites for knowing more about local history,” he said.