The restaurants and breweries in and around Grandview Heights long have been a destination for both residents and out-of-towners.
Now, Destination Grandview, the city's visitors and convention bureau, has launched a campaign to promote the city's food, beverage, creative and "curiosity stops" as destinations for group tours.
"We look to promote Grandview as a destination for all types of travelers, and that includes group travelers," said Brian Cheek, Destination Grandview's executive director.
"One of the city's assets is its unique mix of restaurants and shops along the Grandview Avenue district," he said. "A tour of restaurants or breweries is an ideal activity for groups, family reunions, a girlfriends or guys night out or people in town for a sporting event.
"There's a wide variety of cuisine in the Grandview Avenue area, from Italian to Cajun, and each restaurant has its own unique story to tell," Cheek said.
Destination Grandview's group tour brochure promotes the weekly tours of restaurants and breweries offered by Columbus Food Adventures and its sister company, Columbus Brew Adventures.
"We offer our Grandview Food Tour each Saturday," said Bethia Woolf, co-owner of Columbus Food Adventures. "It's a tour of seven sites along Grandview Avenue. It's kind of a mix of a regular tour experience with elements of a progressive dinner, because you get to try samples at each of the stops."
The tour currently includes stops at Third and Hollywood, Figlio, Sweet Carrot, the Oilerie Columbus, Stauf's Coffee, the Grandview Theater & Drafthouse and the Avenue Steak Tavern.
"We also are able to schedule custom tours or progressive dinners for groups," Woolf said. "We have a scavenger-hunt program that we just did with a company that was looking to do a team-building exercise. The participants split up into teams and set off to get answers to clues or complete food-related activities."
Grandview is one of the more popular locations for Columbus Food Adventures community tours, she said.
"We sell out most weekends," Woolf said. "Grandview Avenue is a ideal location not only for its great mix of restaurants and food businesses, but because there's so much great shopping and other activities going on."
Columbus Brew Adventures' Grandview tour also is held each Saturday and includes visits to Smokehouse Brewing, Sideswipe Brewing and Four String Brewery Company, plus samples at the Ohio Taproom.
"It's what we call the Brewery Triangle," Woolf said.
In addition, visitors to Grandview also may take separate tours offered by Hofbrauhaus and Watershed Distillery, Cheek said.
Destination Grandview is promoting "curiosity stops" as well, including the Ohio Craft Museum, Krema Nut Co. and the Open Door Art Studio as options.
"They're unique kind of places that only the Grandview area can offer," Cheek said.
Other options for group tours are Grandview's "create" businesses, including the Candle Lab, the Smithery and Glenn Avenue Soap.
"These are businesses that offer hands-on activities and cater to groups," Cheek said.
Glenn Avenue Soap Company offers a variety of group and tour activities, said co-owner Phil Metzler.
"On the smaller end, if one of our customers comes into the store and asks about how we make our soap, we can give them a five- or 10-minute tour of our facilities and a brief explanation of how we make our soaps using natural ingredients," he said.
But the store, 1166 W. Fifth Ave., also offers organized tours for larger groups, Metzler said.
A doctor's office recently scheduled a visit by 16 people to learn about the benefits of using natural skin-care products and soaps, he said.
"We also offer more-experiential programs where we've hosted groups of 10 or up to 25 people, which is about the maximum we can handle at one time," Metzler said. "We just had a tour bus from a senior center in the Cleveland area. It was a group of about 50 that split their time between us and Watershed Distillery."
The group participated in activities that related to the senses, he said.
"The activities were designed to help them experience the taste, feel and smell of our ingredients," Metzler said. "We talked about the peppermint soaps we make and gave them five peppermint essential oils and had them get a sense of the fragrance of each one and try to guess which of the five we used for our soap. Then we ended up with making soap together, guiding them through the process and showing them the ingredients and the process we use."
Soap-making parties are another activity Glenn Avenue Soap offers, he said.
"We can do a ladies night out or a wedding party," Metzler said. "You can bring your own food and beverages and have a fun time together as a group."
Destination Grandview is launching a wedding marketing campaign later this month, Cheek said.
"We want to promote the entire Grandview area as a great location for weddings," he said, "not only for holding the weddings at the Grand Event Center and having guests stay in the Grandview Yard, but also using some of the great stores, restaurants and service providers in the area."