Faces + Places / Lifestyle

Eating Locally + Taste of Downtown

I’m writing this and it’s Taste of Downtown. An opportunity to go out and get food from locally owned places at a real steal. To eat out at one of our within-walking-distance eateries. A chance to think about chucking it all and opening a restaurant.

I have the menu. I have the name. The only thing I lack is a background in making food. And running a restaurant. And investment capital. And not wanting to immediately eat all the french fries after I make them.

In my day job, I’m a partner at a creative firm specializing in video production and motion graphic design. In my daydream job, I’m a partner at a creative firm specializing in video production and motion graphic design who gets to go to his restaurant and work the line during the lunch crowd.

My wife sums up my post-college eating style as “out of box,” and not the good boxes. I was very pre-made meals. My family planted a garden annually till I was about 10 years old. From 10 to about 23 or 24, I gravitated to a lot of box eating. Less fresh, less local.

Starting a business really informed how I thought about local businesses. Starting to cook and put a focus on my eating habits (apparently, I’m not 23 anymore) really informed how I thought about my eating.

Without being in downtown Harrisonburg, getting to know local business owners including restauranteurs and co-ops and beer and wine nerds, I don’t know that my eating habits would have grown as much as they have. I traveled to the Middle East for work last year, and, next to making sure I had enough sun block (I didn’t. I didn’t think about chapped lips. We’ll do it up right next time, Middle East), I really wanted to try local food. I wanted to eat what is there now, find out what had been there before.

And that’s the same with any place I travel to now, thanks to being a part of our downtown. Even if some of those places are just in my head while chomping down on lunch…

Joey Groah is a partner at DIGICO Shoot | Post | Design where he writes, directs, and produces content for advertising, marketing, and corporate communication.  He likes food.    

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