JUN 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 21 of 59

⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J U N E 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 22 SOUTHERN FOODIE DESTINATIONS As Leisa Potter, director of corporate events at SYNNEX Corporation, points out, her audiences "get invited to attend events all the time and food is an important factor" in decision-making. The company hosts events across the U.S., and Potter emphasized that an evaluation of the local food scene is a key part of the evaluation process. "When you are asking your executives, customers and, in our case, vendors to take time out of their schedule to attend your event, you want it to be the best across the board," she said. "We'll do a site visit and sample the food before we select restaurants to be used for our events. Sometimes we'll use a destination management company and ask them for recommendations, and then there is old-fashioned word of mouth." The bottom line is that if the food is good, attendees are happier. And destinations across the South are taking note and leading the way with their culinary appeals. Whether offerings align with farm-to-table trends, hip breweries and distilleries, celebrated chefs or funky mixologists, planners are sure to find cutting-edge, memorable F&B experiences. The Lure of Local "Eats" Groups are increasingly looking for authentic, local F&B experiences that showcase the freshest ingredients and offer new twists. "We try to bring the very best of what the local food is to our people, which means adding local selections or taking them to the very best spots," Potter said. She cited the local appeal of Greenville, S.C., and its walkable downtown region. "Greenville offers such a variety of affordable options that appeal to all different palates and groups," she said, noting that for the SYNNEX Inspire Conference, with 1,300 attendees, 15 downtown restaurants were chosen for an attendee dine-around and they had a great experience. David Montgomery, vice president of sales with VisitGreenvilleSC, said that a food revo- lution is taking place in the downtown region. "Like our South Carolina southern neighbor, Charleston, which is known for its endless culi- nary offerings, Greenville is rapidly gaining rec- ognition as a rising culinary contender," he said, pointing to more than 110 restaurants downtown, the majority of them independently owned, part of the "local cuisine" trend. For instance, he noted that the Roost Hand- crafted Food & Drink is conveniently located on Main Street in the downtown district offer- ing a menu built on a "soil to city" concept and featuring high-quality, locally sourced, organic and seasonal foods. The concept is also carried throughout its bar offerings, with only North American wines, local craft beer and naturally crafted cocktails available. In Mobile, Ala., where folks are not afraid to eat, cook or share, according to Visit Mobile, the trend toward farm-to-table, locally sourced meals shared with friends has become a popular move- ment. At The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa, a beautifully restored historic prop- erty, The Trellis Room, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, serves up quintessential Southern cuisine featuring local flavors, while Royal Street Tavern offers handcrafted martinis and cocktails. Groups gathering at the Renaissance ► Doggy Dining in Greenville, S.C. Rendering of Southern Roots opening soon at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear, Ala.

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