Clayton Food Tours show off good eats, drinks

ndunn@newsobserver.comJune 27, 2014 

With their appetites aroused by eggplant rollatini, Italian moscato and international cheeses, the hoard of Clayton Food Tour patrons piled into a Cadillac limousine outside Brick and Mortar Events and Catering.

They were headed from the event venue on Main Street to Deep River Brewing Co. less than a mile up the road. The brewery was the next stop on a $39 tour that also featured six restaurant and dessert options in and around Clayton.

Tour organizer Cindy Nanez said the idea came to her in a dream.

“I woke up and wrote everything down, even the logo,” said Nanez, president of Divine Marketing Group and campaign manager for Shop Local Clayton.

For inspiration, Nanez went on a food tour in Asheville and returned with ideas for food tours that would also showcase off Clayton’s craft beer offerings, art and entertainment.

“We are trying to expose how eclectic Clayton is,” Nanez said.

Tickets cover food, drink and dessert samples. Patrons also get a discount passport they can use during a future trip to one of the businesses.

“It’s all about the experience and creating memories,” Nanez said. “I want to see people interact with each other and meet each other. Hopefully some friendships will be built, and there will be some networking.”

About 20 people bought tickets for the first tour, which focused on food and beer.

At Deep River Brewing Co., head brewer Ben Evans gave an inside look at the brewing process before pouring samples of Double D’s Watermelon Lager and Twisted River Wit.

“Anybody want to taste?” Evans asked as patrons held out their glasses. Deep River opened its brewery at 700 West Main St. in 2013 and promotes itself as Johnston County’s first legal brewery.

The tour also passed through Double Barley Brewing near Wilson’s Mills for both beer and food. The brewery at 3174 U.S. 70 includes a taproom open from Wednesday through Sunday.

“I’m learning a lot,” said Betty Jo Shepheard, a tour patron from Rocky Mount. “I’ve never been to a lot of breweries.”

Shepheard said she heard about the tour via email and quickly signed up. “I’m always looking for something good to eat,” she said.

Other stops on the June 17 tour included The Flipside on East Second Street, Dylan’s Unique Gifts and Weddings on East Main Street and Sherry’s Signature Cheesecakes on East Main Street.

Nanez said future tours will focus on food and art and food and entertainment. The next tour is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 19.

For more information, go to www.claytonfoodtours.com or search Clayton Food Tours on Facebook.

Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104

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