Building a bigger cuisine-based profile

Word is catching on. More

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Focus: TOURISM

Building a bigger cuisine-based profile

PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
FARM SYSTEM: Kate and Matt Jennings, owners Farmstead and La Laiterie on Wayland Square in Providence, expect the city to garner more recognition for its diverse culinary culture.
Posted 11/7/11

Word is catching on.

Providence’s access to Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean for fresh seafood, its rich blend of cultural heritages, and a premiere university that churns out top chefs and service providers continue to burnish the reputation of the city’s restaurant industry.

Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau executives and local restaurateurs see interest in that sector of the economy growing, and are actively promoting the city’s rich culinary fare. And whether as a prime attraction for potential convention business or through special offers to attract foodies, said Kristen Adamo, vice president of marketing and communication for the bureau, Providence’s stature in the United States’ food ecosystem is a major selling point.

Adamo says she’s seen the city hover around the top five in destinations for food in several polls over the seven years she’s been in her position. The convention bureau uses every chance it gets to remind the world about the unique fare the city has to offer.

“In fact, it’s key to wooing conventions here and one of the things we get asked most about,” she said.

In an online poll for Travel + Leisure magazine’s “America’s Favorite Cities” last month, Providence ranked No. 2 for food. And in the magazine’s September issue, the city took the No. 3 spot in the nation in the “America’s Best Cities for Foodies.”

The convention bureau also hosted Restaurant Weeks this past summer, during which diners could get three-course lunches and dinners at participating restaurants ranging from $12.95 to $29.95. The event was so successful, Adamo said that the CVB decided to have another in January.

This summer, the bureau posted participating restaurants’ menus on its website and quickly noticed something different.

“We noticed that people were clicking on the menus and generally staying on those pages longer than average,” Adamo said.

Aside from the showing in the polls, the city’s increasing popularity is evident by the top chefs who have made homes for their restaurants here, she said. As examples, Adamo pointed out Nemo Bolin of Cook & Brown, in the city’s College Hill neighborhood, and Matt Jennings, who owns Farmstead and La Laiterie, calling them Providence’s national food ambassadors.

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