Arizona gains traction as food tourism destination | Cronkite News

Arizona restaurants were recently honored with five James Beard Awards. Phoenix was named the best city for pizza by Travel and Leisure, and as Kanak Jha reports, the Arizona office of Tourism and the Arizona Restaurant Association want to capitalize on those accolades to highlight our state as a foodie destination. To learn a city’s best dishes, you need a local guide. Expedition Foodie is a new website created by the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Arizona Restaurant Association to help out-of-towners plan their culinary adventure. Already, some are getting global attention, like Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix. A group of people that flew in from Dubai, they’re going to be here for a week, but they flew in, this was the only restaurant that they knew they were going to eat at. It’s just… it’s amazing it’s really, really cool. Little Miss BBQ has consistently ranked as one of the top restaurants in the state, even the country. Scott Dunn says places like this boost Arizona’s reputation. Little Miss BBQ, with chef Scott Holmes, has been among the top 15 restaurants nationally, 15 best review restaurants nationally on Yelp. So our culinary reputation has elevated with each passing year. Whether a BBQ joint or pizza place, studies show that more tourists are saying that food experiences are an important part of their vacation. But is the city like Phoenix prepared to be a culinary destination? Veteran food bloggers and critic Dominic Armato said it’s getting there. Phoenix is finding its voice when it comes to all things culinary. You know, I think it’s a town that is that is getting more confident in the food that’s being made more confident in its culinary history. The Arizona Office of Tourism reported that retail and bars brought in about 1 billion dollars to the local economy in 2016, a two percent increase from the previous year. A lot of people that fly in they try to schedule their flight so they land around nine, then they can get their bags and be here around ten. It’s a really kind of blows my mind sometimes. Look for it online in the next couple of weeks. In Phoenix, Kanak Jha, Cronkite News.

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