The Greater Binghamton Chamber is joining forces with a local restaurant organization to promote our area’s dining options.
The Chamber held a news conference at Food and Fire Barbeque Tap House in Johnson City to announce that it will take over managing Southern Tier Independent Restaurants or STIR.
STIR was founded five years ago by the owners of the PS Restaurant in Vestal as a way to promote the diversity and quality of locally owned eateries in Greater Binghamton.
It holds tastings and wine pairing events, marketing campaigns and provides scholarships for local culinary students.
However, STIR’s volunteer board is largely comprised by restaurant owners who lack the time to manage the organization.
Now the Chamber will handle the group’s marketing through its website and Facebook page and by redesigning its Dining Guide.
Chamber CEO Jennifer Conway says, “BU goes through these like water, Paul was saying, because all of the parents come and they want to know where should we eat and what should we do? This is a great guide to put in people’s hands so they can experience across the county all the fantastic places that we have to eat.”
The Chamber also plans to organize the group’s special events and help it launch a Broome County Restaurant Week.
Conway says the promotion would compliment rather than compete with existing Restaurant Weeks in Binghamton and Endicott and would give eateries in other municipalities an opportunity to participate.
Paul VanSavage, an author and self-described foodie, is Secretary for STIR. He calls the arrangement a win-win for both organizations. “I was visiting my kids in California and I said, ‘Let’s go out to dinner.’ There were no locally owned independent restaurants where they lived. And I said, ‘Wow, this is crazy, your community has no soul. Come to Binghamton, we have a lot of culinary soul.’ And we do. What a broad array of restaurants that we have in this community.”
STIR currently has about 40 member restaurants.
Under the new arrangement, eateries participating in STIR will become Chamber members at a special membership level.
VanSavage says STIR will retain its independent non-profit status and own board of directors.
To find out more, go to STIR-local.com.