What does a tourism board do when the restaurant scene becomes too large for its yearly Visitors Guide? Start a standalone publication just for food!
The dining scene in Montgomery County, Pa., has become so vibrant, so eclectic and so popular in the past few years that the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) has spun off its restaurant information into a separate publication. County records show nearly 600 eating establishments in every corner of the county.
The first edition of this new magazine, titled Crave, will be unveiled at a VFTCB event on July 13 at the Best Western Plus, Inn at King of Prussia. The rollout has a social media aspect as well, with the tie-in of an Instagram contest to highlight the area’s most photogenic food.
Crave is a 30-page trip through Montgomery County’s most active dining hotspots. Borough by borough, the VFTCB makes its recommendations for eating, covering everything from five-star fine dining to casual carryout. A few top-tens are included, with tips on finding the county’s best ice cream, sushi and brunch.
A regular feature will showcase a local chef and his or her particular culinary outlook. Issue one, for example, contains a Q&A with Chef Luke Palladino. His signature establishment, LP Steak (a South Philly institution) opened its King of Prussia kitchen in the Valley Forge Casino Resort last year, representing the brand’s first extension into the suburbs.
“Like our annual Visitor Guide, Crave is designed for the out-of-market guest,” says Mike Bowman, VFTCB President and CEO. “Distribution will be county-wide, with concentration in our Turnpike-accessible hotels: That’s King of Prussia, Willow Grove, Fort Washington and Lansdale. We’re looking for travelers new to the area to use it to answer the question: I’ve never been here before; where can I get an amazing meal?”
The debut party for Crave gathers VFTCB members for a night of information, socializing and food. Members of the VFTCB Communication Team will lead a short session on managing media relations.
The presentation is part of a Membership Speaker Series that was added to VFTCB member benefits earlier in 2015. When the PR content wraps up, attendees will go poolside, where sliders and grilling techniques will be served up by chefs from both LP Steak and Davio’s, a steakhouse about to open at the Village of Valley Forge. The remainder of the time will be spent networking, socializing and perusing the premier edition of Crave.
Crave is also one of the cornerstones of information being provided to delegates staying in the county for the Democratic National Convention. Montgomery County has picked up the second-largest bloc of attendees at the DNC, behind Philadelphia itself, with more than 5,000 guests expected July 24-29.
Issue number two of Crave is scheduled for January, at which time it will reflect the additional restaurants coming to the 50-store expansion of King of Prussia Mall. The magazine’s distribution to local hotels will coincide with the influx of visitors who spend Presidents Day weekend in Montgomery County, exploring historic sites like Valley Forge National Historical Park.