Foods of New York Tours was unofficially launched in 1998 by Todd Lefkovic, a New Jersey native who started coming to the Village in 1977. What began as a sideline job for Todd giving food tours of the Village to New Yorkers on Saturday afternoons has grown to become a successful business with seventeen employees and five separate tour offerings. Foods of New York will be presented with a 2012 Village Award at GVSHP’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 7th.
The company, which serves predominately tourists and receives much of its business through word of mouth, keeps it local. Tour goers will taste about six samples from specialty food shops, ethnic eateries, and local restaurants during the tour. Each tour brings these local stores and restaurants (99% mom-and-pop-owned) revenue, word of mouth marketing, and often times, repeat business. In addition to sampling some of our neighborhood’s best food offerings (you’ll find more than a few past Village Award winners on their tours), guides also emphasize the area’s history and culture as well. A recent tour included an explanation of the different kind of brickwork on Federal and Greek Revival houses, illustrations of the impact of landmark requirements, and a stop inside the Cherry Lane Theatre.
Tastings are selected after months of research by Todd, Operations Director Amy, and the guides. Businesses can’t buy their way onto this tour: they need to have an interesting story, appeal to locals, and have consistent quality in terms of taste and service. Foods of New York Tours’ consistently stellar reviews and repeat business all attest to their methods of selection.
Foods of New York Tours will be presented with a Village Award for promoting the local businesses of the Village while engendering enthusiastic interest in the history, architecture, and culture of the neighborhood. We hope to see you at GVSHP’s 2012 Annual Meeting as we honor Foods of New York and seven other awardees who are being honored for their contributions to the Village. Stay-tuned to Off the Grid for upcoming posts on our other 2012 Village awardees.