Monday, February 19, 2018

Culinary Team Up: Longview restaurants form group to increase marketing

By Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Nov. 7, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.

Chelsea Cace, right, waits on Mark Motley on Monday at The Cace Kitchen.

Ten Longview restaurants have banded together to maximize not only their marketing dollars but their charity, too.

Earlier this year, restaurant owners formed Chews Longview.

Organizers describe it as a marketing cooperative with the sole purpose of supporting and promoting locally owned and originated restaurant concepts that exemplify the height of culinary quality, creativity and diversity available in Longview.

"We just thought that would be a good shop-local, eat-local network," said David Choy, owner of GZ's Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar.

The group was formed by Choy, Tuscan Pig Italian Kitchen owner Rudy Kiapeta and the late Gerald Rodriguez, who owned the former Tyler Street Bistro and Gerald's martini bar.

Other participating restaurants include Bodacious BBQ on Mobberly Avenue, The Butcher Shop, The Cace Kitchen, Café Barron's, Dudley's Cajun Café, Fisherman's Market, GZ Asian Bistro, Papacita's Mexican Restaurant, Pizza King and the Tuscan Pig.

"I can't tell you that it has helped a lot," Choy said of the impact from Chews Longview, "but it has helped band us together."

Coming together helped the group raise $7,000 that it sent to the Texas Gulf Coast for hurricane relief, he said. Without Chews Longview's establishment, several restaurants might have given money on their own to hurricane victims but likely wouldn't have made as great of an impact.

"Those are all common goals that we all look at," Choy said. "Neighbors helping neighbors."

Chews Longview uses social media to highlight participating restaurants. Its page on Facebook has more than 1,600 likes and followers.

Facebook status messages also accentuated the sangria pop margarita at Papacita's, the celebration of National Sandwich Day at Tuscan Pig and spilled the beans on Bodacious closing early Friday and all day Saturday to attend the Texas Monthly Barbecue Festival.

Cathy Cace said it helps when Chews Longview posts about The Cace Kitchen.

"They help getting the word out on different things. I think it's been beneficial," Cace said. "We're so small, and we really don't have an advertising budget, per se, and can't do much advertising."

That's the prevailing goal of Chews Longview, Choy said, to save advertising dollars spent by local restaurants with local names that are uniquely Longview.

The cooperative is looking into future ideas that would save participating restaurants money on insurance, he added.

"With the bigger restaurants, they don't have to worry about stuff like that," Choy said, "but we do."



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