Since launching in June, we had a solid turnout. We ate lots of good pizza and guacamole, fried green tomatoes, ice cream, French macarons, chicken wings, sandwiches, Chinese dumplings and more. And sampled some tasty margaritas, from lime to blueberry.
Here are some highlights from our first year:
Celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries, surprise dates, family reunions and out-of-town guests.
Private tour for coworkers from around the globe meeting each other for the first time.
Locals who were curious about the Atlanta BeltLine and its restaurants.
We gave away 8 tickets, and got to meet foodies and other cool people.
My friends came out to support me, and my boyfriend was always in the background ready to help. Thanks to all of you!
On a cold, rainy Halloween weekend, only two people showed up in festive attire to celebrate the holiday. But we had fun anyway, and were treated to Black Magic Margaritas by Guac y Margys!
Our restaurant partners always came through, making sure we had an outstanding experience. So many thanks to Nina & Rafi, Guac y Margys, Just Add Honey and Soul Food & Culture. We also sampled new tastings at Glide Pizza, Gus Dumplings, Butter & Cream, DBA Sandwich (now out of business) and Xocolatl. Our guests raved about the food. We even tried gluten-free pizza at Nina & Rafi, which no one could believe was GF.
Not only was the street art a hit, but we included a new interactive experience. We gave our guests a can of paint, so they could try being a street artist under the bridge. They loved it.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect this first year. I was thrilled to host so many tours. To show off my favorite restaurants to locals and tourists alike. To share the BeltLine with them, and help them discover talented Atlanta artists like arrrtaddict, Janice Rago, Lela Brunet, Jenevieve Reid and Greg Mike.
No one had been to all the restaurants we featured, and in fact, most guests (even locals) weren't very familiar with the segment of the Atlanta BeltLine on our tours. Which meant I was able to show them new places, including some of the best restaurants in Atlanta.
I was so happy when my friends came, and when our guests said they had a great time. Sometimes they made friends with each other. That's exactly what I wanted to happen.
So after a successful first season, I am taking a break for winter.
I will do a couple of tours in January and February, just to see how it goes. Some of my peers who run food tours in the Northern states shut down in winter months because they know it will be too cold. But in Atlanta, you never know what the weather will be. It could be 70 or it could be 20. (Let's hope for 70).
I am also scaling back because I injured my knee and can barely hobble from the bedroom to the kitchen. So I won't be leading any tours for at least a few weeks. (I was so sorry to cancel a couple of tours in November, including one with former colleagues).
In the meantime, if you have a foodie on your Christmas list, consider getting them a gift card for one of our upcoming tours. Eating your way down the BeltLine is always a fun thing to do in Atlanta, whether you're a local or tourist.
Also, check out our new merchandise, designed by my teenage nephew Adrian, who wants to become a graphic designer. He did an amazing job! These shirts, hoodies and tote bags are fun souvenirs if you've come on our tour, and make great Christmas gifts for BeltLine foodies.
We will be back every weekend in March, which I call margarita weather. Because the dogwoods are in bloom, the temperatures are mild, and it's the perfect time to relax on a patio with a cold drink.
And take a BiteLines Food and Art Tour.
Looking for fun things to do in Atlanta? Join us on a Food and Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine.
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder & CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking food and art tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. The BiteLines blog features art, restaurants, happenings and weirdness on the Atlanta BeltLine. Share story ideas and pics at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Instagram @bitelinesatl.