The first year under new ownership can be a daunting one. There are tons of things to learn, mistakes to be made and numerous new relationships to build. We were enthralled to take on the challenge and to enhance such a successful and well-known event. Having a strong sense of wanting to bring the community together, the First Bite team set out to have each facet of First Bite serve this mission.

I’m extremely proud that our team accomplished this goal, bringing together over 11,300 diners during our nine-day event in November. Through partnerships with over 68 restaurants, non-profits, local businesses and organizations, First Bite delivered over $542,000 economic impact to Boulder County. Diners from fifteen states and from all over the Front Range traveled to Boulder for the unique dining experiences our chefs put together. And man, what a show it was.

Our restaurants overwhelmingly reported having a fantastic week meeting so many new faces and serving up some of the most exciting dishes they created all year. “We like to think of our participation in First Bite as a ‘thank you’ for our regular guests for their continued support, as well as a chance to introduce new diners and show them what we have to offer. We also believe it’s so important to be a part of the community that has given us 12 great years of support, as we look forward to another dozen more in downtown Louisville!” said Chef Jeff Osaka, the Culinary Director of The Empire Lounge & Restaurant. Their bananas foster sure was a generous thank you and is something we are still dreaming of.

First Bite is the perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant, and our diners certainly made their way around town. Our restaurants reported that over half of their diners were first time customers, making First Bite a must-do for catching the eye of new clientele. With our higher priced restaurants, it’s the perfect time for a diner to find their new location for any special occasion and for the foodies and regulars, it was a chance to try something immersive and different than your usual go-to. Acreage took the charge to be unique and creative to the next level, serving up a family style 5 course meal every night. The food was outstanding, and the experience ended with a fireside dessert and hot cider that made it unforgettable. As a diner put it, “It is so great to have a unique, interesting, intimate experience. Exactly what I look for in a special reservation. Every bite was fantastic.”

This positive reaction to our restaurant community is very well-deserved, and much appreciated. The chefs, servers, managers, bartenders, dishwashers, hosts, everyone in these restaurants works incredibly hard to create meaningful dining experiences for guests and they always appreciate hearing when they had a good time. More than hearing it, they love seeing your faces again. Be sure to go back to your favorite spots, make a note to follow them on social media and to get to know them a bit more. They love to know that you’re coming back for another bite, after your first bite was so memorable.

Food is Love.