My awesome night with Grub Crawl

The evening's program.

I actually should have written about this earlier, but I got really busy and never got around to it.

Last Wednesday, I joined Grub Crawl in their restaurant hopping adventure. It’s like bar hopping, except it’s with food. There were three restaurants that we went to and a ballpark tour of AT&T Park afterward.

About two months ago, I met the co-founder of Grub Crawl at an SJSU alumni event. We got to talking and with my need to find other outlets to write and his site looking for some writing help, we got to talking. I was invited to last Wednesday’s tour to document and get some quotes.

I had a blast just checking out the restaurants and doing the ballpark tour (even though I’ve done it before). I got to meet new people and have great food.

Here are the pics I took of the evening.

It’s a little hard to go into detail as to what we did that night. There was just so much going on. We started at one restaurant, ate and then an hour later, went to another. After our third restaurant, we did the ballpark tour.

I’m actually working on a story for the website on the evening. Here’s a sneak peak at my rough draft. (Changed the names of actual people just because I think I should and I did).

Convenience was what brought John Smith to his first ever Grub Crawl this past Wednesday. Being a frequent customer of Ironside, the crawl’s first restaurant stop, Smith knew that he would be in for a fun time.

“My office is a block and it was convenient,” says Smith of the convincing factors that got him to check out Grub Crawl.

Smith first heard of Grub Crawl from a friend who took part in the crawl a week earlier down in the Mission District of San Francisco. With a ballpark tour of AT&T Park capping off the three-restaurant tour, that was more than enough to convince Smith to give it a try.

Stop 1: Ironside (680A Second Street)

On the menu:

  • The Ironside pizza: tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil
  • Braised beef short rib pizza: Brussel leaves, farm fresh egg and granna padano
  • Guanciale: Shaved cured pork cheek, pecorino, garlic-chili white sauce, dandelion greens

The restaurant begins to pack with more than 40 people at around 6:15 on the warm spring evening. Some of them were first-timers and some of them have been to crawls in the past. A banner is draped over the railing of the top floor with Grub Crawl’s logo. Crawlers gather at the table to check in and get their nametags.

Pizzas sit on a stand on every table – fresh out of the oven. The crawlers find any open seat and start to chow down.

Smith sits near the window on the second floor loft of the restaurant, tasting slices from the three pizzas. He is joined by two other grub crawlers at the table. Smith takes in the conversation with the two new friends he just made.

“One of the things that really stood out is the atmosphere – how it helps everybody get to sit next to each other, even if they don’t know each other,” says Smith. “Since we have our nametags, it’s really easy to introduce ourselves and have a great time to make friends.”

Standing less than two blocks away from AT&T Park, a large crowd isn’t out of the ordinary for the restaurant. Ironside co-owner Bob Jones has seen the restaurant grow since it opened a year and a half ago, but this was a unique event that he saw as a great opportunity for the restaurant.

“We wanted to open up a lunch spot to cater to the area around here,” says Jones of the restaurant’s initial plans when they opened. “We just want to be a great little local neighborhood spot.”

The restaurant offers pre-made Cuban sandwiches for takeout on gamedays, a full buffet and an assortment of beers and wine on tap. The traffic at the restaurant gets so busy on gamedays, Jones recommends that people make reservations on the restaurant’s website ensure they have a seat a few hours before the game.

With the Giants on the road, it was a good opportunity for the restaurant to show their best during a less hectic evening.

“We’re actually pretty stoked,” Jones said of hosting Grub Crawl. “It’s marketing for us to let people in to see what we can do and to show what kind of food we have.”

It takes a little time for the crawlers to get comfortable with sitting people they had never met. But while sitting over freshly baked pizza and a TV turned onto the Giants-Mets game, conversation topics arise.

I’ll post more when I get all this stuff figured out.

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