Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition, especially when it involves food? “Pound for pound, Rhode Island has the best food options anywhere,” says RI Food Fights founder Jim Nellis, who started the organization with the goal of connecting people with local restaurants. It’s now what he calls Rhode Island’s largest social media marketing effort with a food focus. On average, it has helped draw 315 new customers to its participating restaurants each competition.
How it works? Purchase a “passport” – essentially a book of coupons – for $20 and redeem it for free food or a beverage at participating restaurants, then vote on your favorite. They’ve featured everything from doughnuts to pizza – May’s Big Burger Blowout saw 900 foodie participants and 19 restaurants vying to steal the title of “best burger” in RI.
“There’s a magic in it that I didn’t create,” Jim says of the spark he’s observed between the people, chefs and restaurants during the competitions. He is proud and pleased to see the impact his organization has had on the community.
The 4th annual Iced Coffee Summer Celebration runs through August, featuring at least 20 participating coffee shops. September will bring BagelFest 2017, RI Food Fights’ hunt for the state’s best bagel among at least 15 competing businesses.