For Immediate Release:
Contact: Lori Rosso, 727-343-4445,
GULFPORT, FL: Gulfport, Florida is one of six small-town finalists from across the country in the first ever Rand McNally/USA Today “Best of the Road” competition in the “Best for Food” category. To celebrate Gulfport’s ranking as a finalist and to prepare for an upcoming “Road Rally” visit in which the town will be judged. 15 participating Gulfport restaurants have crafted a special “Best of the Road Sampler Plate.” Each plate will offer taste-sized samples of that restaurant’s best or signature dishes. Most plates will be priced in the range of $10 to $15. Plates at each of the 15 locations will be offered beginning Thursday, June 23rd and will remain on menus at least through Saturday, July 23rd.
Gulfport restaurants offering their own “Best of the Road Sampler Plate” include: Backfin Blue Café, Habana Café, Isabelle’s at Peninsula Inn & Spa, Island Flavors and ‘Tings, La Cote Basque Winehouse, O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille, Peg’s Cantina & Brew Pub, Neptune Grill, Pia’s Trattoria, Smokin’ J’s BBQ, Stella’s Deli, T & Me Tea Co., Tangelo’s Grille, Village Pub and Yummy’s Casual Café.
Small towns were nominated in an online public forum beginning in May, with open voting for towns in the “Best for Food” and four other categories: “Most Beautiful,” “Most Patriotic,” “Friendliest,” and “Most Fun.” Gulfport received the highest number of votes in its “Best for Food” category during public voting. Other small town “Best for Food” finalists are: Addison, WV; Burnsville, MN; Lafayette, LA; Costa Mesa and Visalia, CA.
The “Road Rally” portion of the competition kicks off with an event on June 23rd in New York City. Online public voting was also a factor in selecting the five two-person teams which will participate in the Rally. At the June 23rd event, teams will be notified which category they will be assigned to judge in the competition. Teams will have the discretion to determine their own routes and itineraries. Organizers for Gulfport’s “Best for Food” host committee determined the sample plates would be a good idea to have in place on local menus prior to the team’s arrival. After it is notified of an arrival date for the Rally team, the host committee plans a public event to welcome the team to the City, as well as a festive “restaurant stroll” in which the team and the public will be invited to partake.
The Road Rally continues across the country as teams visit their assigned small towns and observe and judge each. Teams are asked to blog, tweet and otherwise document their experiences as they travel. A final ceremony in Los Angeles will welcome teams on July 15th, at which time they will announce their own choices for best small towns in each category.
For those who want to know updated information, a Facebook event page is online at https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=105170429576190 or you can search on Facebook for “Gulfport’s Best of The Road Food Rally!” Up to date details will be posted there as they are known.
For more information, contact Lori Rosso at 727-343-4445 or