If I want to get to know a community, this is my favorite question to ask:
"What's good to eat around here?"
In big cities, you could get hundreds of different responses. In a small town, everyone will tell you the same name.
I'm bringing that idea to the Quad-City Times' Food section.
It's been almost a year since we launched a local food page.
Since January, I've been exploring the area's eateries and I've learned that the Quad-Cities is home to good food.
I consistently crave pulled pork nachos from Front Street Brewery, a slice from Streets of Italy Pizza, any beer from Great River Brewery or Bent River Brewery, tacos from Los Compadres or Rudy's, grilled cheese from Brew in the East Village of Davenport, anything from Soi 2 Thai Street Food in Rock Island and an iced coffee from Redband Coffee Company. My "to-try" list is getting longer every day.
The Quad-Cities is also home to plenty of interesting food stories.
In this space, I've featured old and new restaurants, covered the growing food truck scene, written about the Onion Man and Crepe Guy, talked to interesting folks over coffee and tacos and wine, written about a Quad-City based food podcast and food Instagram account and shared some tasty recipes.
And, yes, I'm hungry for more.
I want to uncover more food stories from all corners of the Quad-Cities.
I want to take the Food section on the road, drive through smaller communities and ask, "What's good to eat around here?"
We're looking for those places that define a community or seem to be in the middle of nowhere or have the best hamburger or pie or margarita you've ever tried. It could be well-known or a hole-in-the-wall, fancy or casual, brand new or 150 years old.
Do you drive an hour somewhere just for breakfast? Do you still talk about that diner you visited one time with your grandparents?
Over the last months writing about food, here's my biggest takeaway: It's not always about the food.
It's more about the conversation around the dinner table, the process of growing vegetables, the history of the restaurant or the risk of opening it, the memory attached to a family recipe, the story behind it all.
What restaurant comes to your mind?
I'd love to hear about it and feature it in our "On the road" series.
The series kicks off today with a look at Kalmes Restaurant in St. Donatus. It's been open, in some form, since 1850.
Have a suggestion for our series or for the Food section? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 563-383-2400.