By Makenzie Whittle

The Bulletin

If you go:

What: Foodie Crawl

When: 3-9 p.m., April 14

Where: Downtown Bend

Cost: $75 per ticket, limited tickets available

Contact: thefoodiecrawl.com

After a year’s hiatus, one of Bend’s tastiest events is returning to downtown Bend.

The annual Foodie Crawl is back on April 14 for its seventh year, this time with NeighborImpact driving the delectable dining experience.

“The Bend Community Center dissolved, and then they were trying to find a new beneficiary and coordinator of the Foodie Crawl, so we ended up being that,” said Andie Price, event contractor with NeighborImpact.

Regardless of the change — the pub-crawl-meets-progessive-dinner, as the event is coined on the website — the night operates in a similar manner as in years past.

Attendees will be greeted to a smorgasbord of savory and sweet treats at several restaurants en route to the official after party at McMenamins St. Francis School where local jam band Mark Ransom and the Mostest will perform.

“I talked with the previous organizers, and they’ve gone through some trials and tribulations. Sometimes they had 10 restaurants with beverage partners, sometimes they had 15 or 16, so they kind of went back and forth to figure out that sweet spot,” Price said. “It was just overwhelming, and people kind of felt like ‘well I didn’t get to go to three or four of these restaurants because there wasn’t enough time.’”

Eleven downtown restaurants have joined in this year’s crawl: 900 Wall, Barrio, Townshend’s Teahouse, Crater Lake Spirits, Joolz, J-Dub, Zydeco, Salud Raw Foods and Worthy Brewing Taps and Tacos. Spork is kicking off the event at Crow’s Feet Commons.

Crawlers will be able to roam around downtown, stopping at the 11 food destinations at their own pace and in any order. Barrio’s smoked lamb sliders and J-Dub’s Hawaiian deviled eggs are among the many featured foods. Specialty cocktails mixed with local distillers’ liquors will also be offered along the way.

For those wanting to abstain from adult beverages, there are two spots slinging only nonalcoholic concoctions. Townshend’s will be mixing tea with gelato from Bonta Gelato; Salud Raw Foods will offer kombucha and mixed sodas with specialty syrups.

If you do choose to sip on one of the many drinks offered throughout, “NeighborImpact will pay $5 toward a Lyft of Uber ride,” said ­Suzette Chapman, development director for NeighborImpact. “We want to be sure people make it home safely.”

Tickets are $75 and include all participating restaurants’ dishes, drinks, after party access, desserts and a chance at raffle prizes.

“We have some really nice raffle items donated by local businesses around the area, from outdoor activities to a cultural event in Portland … more food,” Chapman said with a laugh.

Like every year, this event isn’t just to give attendees the chance to fill up on foodie goodness, it’s for a good cause. Proceeds will go to benefit NeighborImpact’s Emergency Food Assistance program.

“We’re hoping to generate around $30,000,” said Chambers, adding, “exposure is everything and has a long-term benefit, so we’re happy to have this opportunity to get the word out.”

If the price tag for the night is out of the budget, there are still ways to help. Volunteers will be stationed at each restaurant to “greet people and help them settle in and know where they are,” Chambers said.

So bring an empty stomach and an open heart.

— Reporter: 541-383-0304, mwhittle@bendbulletin.com

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