OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A little taste could go a long way in helping the Ocean Springs Chamber promote what local restaurants have to offer. This week, dozens of participants went on a whirlwind tour of restaurants called the Progressive Dinner. Restaurant owners and Chamber officials hope once people sample the cuisine, they'll be craving for more.
Several of the diners at Mosaic Tapas Bar Tuesday were first time visitors. The owner said it can be difficult to introduce his menu to new customers because many people aren't sure what his style of cuisine is.
"It's world cuisine. Plates from all over the world," said Arturo Barajas. "A lot of people don't know what concept we are. A lot of people don't know what tapas means. This opportunity is bringing customers to try food on a set menu. That's when you get the opportunity to present it and have them taste it."
Forty people did a lot of tasting during the Progressive Dinner. The tour took them to sample the specialty dishes of either four restaurants on the turf tour, to dine on meat entrees; or four restaurants on the surf trolley, which served seafood.
"Being part of the progressive tour actually gives them the chance to check out of some of the restaurants that they may not have gone to before," said Cynthia Sutton, with the Ocean Springs Chamber. "They weren't really sure what they may have to offer. And this gives them the opportunity to taste a little bit. So hopefully they'll come back the next day, next week, next month and become a loyal customer at some of these restaurants."
Just as much as the trolley rides and the food, people said they enjoyed getting to know new people.
"It's so much fun to go with a group of people on a bus, where we're actually taken from restaurant to restaurant," Page Riley said. "To actually have their specialty is something you wouldn't get to try anywhere else."
"The food is very good over here and it's fun to try everything that everybody has," said Richard Smallpage.
"It's a lot of fun because you get a lot of choices in Ocean Springs to go and visit all kinds of restaurants," Anita Arguellas said. "Some of them are focusing on farm to table. Some of them are focusing on cuisine that is more international. You never run out of choices in Ocean Springs."
The Progressive Dinner was the last of a summer series of events to promote Ocean Springs Restaurants. The chamber has also put on a dessert crawl, a family pizza night, and a date night.