Rand McNally's Best of the Road Rally putting Bloomington’s food in national spotlight
Photo by Steph Langan
June 26, 2012
A food frenzy is happening in Bloomington.
“Team Road Bros” Brian Cox and Mike Shubic are seeing the best of what restaurants have to offer for Rand McNally’s Best of the Road Rally with USA Today.
“The energy of Bloomington is amazing,” Shubic said. “Going through town was like a parade.”
Cox and Shubic were introduced to the city Monday at the Bloomington Banquet Sculpture along the B-Line Trail, where citizens, a band and politicians had come to greet them.
Mike McAfee, executive director of Visit Bloomington, said his organization nominated the city as America’s Best of Food community.
“We have already been selected one of the six best food towns in America,” McAfee said. “We want to win the competition and be the best, but it’s pretty cool to be one of the six best. We have already won, is sort of the way we’re looking at it.”
While pointing toward different areas of Bloomington, he said he thinks Bloomington does have a good shot of winning.
“We have an incredible food and culinary scene here,” he said. “We have 140 independent restaurants, over 300 total restaurants, food events, wineries, etc. You name it, we got it.”
Cox and Shubic have gone to different restaurants in the area and said they are quite impressed.
“We were able to pick our own food from the farm and chefs were able to cook it for us,” Cox said.
The two have also been preparing blogs to follow at Cox’s thetravelvlogger.com and Shubic’s mikesroadtrip.com.
“All of the towns have put so much time into setting this up,” Shubic said. “Both of us are trying to pay back the community for showing us their town.”
The group will travel to Seattle, Wash., where a panel of three judges will watch their presentations and announce the winner on July 15th. The rally’s other five best food finalists are Charlottesville, Va.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Walla Walla, Wash.; Burnsville, Minn.; and Lewiston, N.Y.
The rally has also named finalists in four other categories: friendliest, most beautiful, most fun and most patriotic. Those finalists are listed at www.bestoftheroad.com.
“The exposure all the towns are getting this year is amplified big time,” Shubic said. “Every town is getting a great amount of exposure right now.”
Locals are hoping Bloomington will be the ultimate winner of the rally’s Best of Food competition.
“Thanks for showing us a good time, Bloomington,” Cox said.