Treasure Coast Culinary Tours in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach help local businesses

Shelly Metz was gearing up for her family’s upcoming vacation to Fort Pierce, researching touristy activities when she came across Treasure Coast Culinary Tours.

Why not, Metz thought, the family loves to try local cuisine, and it’s a great way to get to know the area as first-time visitors.

The Metz family, of Columbus, Ohio, bopped around Downtown Fort Pierce on June 9 — chowing down on crepes, seafood gumbo, blackened shrimp tacos, wagyu beef and crab bisque.

“You know, every restaurant has their signature food or drink, and as people who have never been here before, you wouldn’t know that,” Metz said. “So it’s nice that we get to taste it.”

Treasure Coast Culinary Tours is a 2 ½-hour walking food excursion offered in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Sebastian for tourists and residents alike to sample the best local eateries have to offer. 

The Metz family, Zoe (front left), 16, Shelly (back left), Stephen (back right), of Columbus, Ohio, enjoy their Old Florida crepes with tour guide Debbi Goodman Venturina, of Treasure Coast Culinary Tours, during a walking restaurant tour on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Old Florida Coffee in downtown Fort Pierce. The group also visited Cobb's Landing, Taco Dive, Pierced Ciderworks and Pickled Restaurant and Bar. "What we want to do is give everyone a taste at these restaurants so when they're in the area, they come back," said Venturina. "That's the whole goal, to support the local businesses."

It’s a local business helping other local businesses, said tour guide Debbi Goodman Venturina, and is much-needed as entrepreneurs bounce back from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“That’s the whole goal,” said Venturina, of Vero Beach. “Support local businesses so customers come back.”

Diners pay a $75 fee which includes all food and drink items offered on the tour, Venturina said. Treasure Coast Culinary Tours covers the tab at each site and a 20% gratuity for servers. There are about 10 or 12 businesses in each city with which tour guides rotate. 

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