July 6, 2016 - Detroit Free Press
Take the DXF Challenge: How many Detroit bars, restaurants can you hit?
By Mark Kurlyandchik
Not including fast-food joints, there are more than 600 bars and restaurants within Detroit city limits, according to the Detroit Experience Factory (DXF). And the third annual DXF Bar & Restaurant Challenge gives you an excuse to try as many of them as possible between now and the end of September.
The challenge premise is simple: Register online at www.detroitexperiencefactory.org/challenge, visit a bar or restaurant on DXF's checklist, take a selfie with your favorite menu item, post it to Instagram with the proper tags and repeat as many times as you can.
The person with the most places visited by Sept. 30 wins a grand prize package valued at $1,000 that includes a DXF bar tour for 12 people, a hotel room at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and a $100 gift certificate for dinner at Angelina Italian Bistro.
DXF founder and lifelong Detroit resident Jeanette Pierce describes it as a way for locals to discover new places in the city.
"We're all creatures of habit," Pierce says. "It's easy to go to the same three restaurants that you really like. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but if you don't go to other places you don't know about, maybe there's a new favorite place out there."
Pierce founded the nonprofit DXF in 2006 and has since taken 75,000 people around the city, two-thirds of whom have been locals.
"One of the first things we started doing was strolling suppers and bar tours," Pierce says. "People hear 'tour' and think, 'Oh, God.' But when you say 'bar tour' or 'strolling supper,' we bring in people using food and drink as a lead."
Pierce says she created a checklist of downtown Detroit food and drink establishments a decade ago as a response to those who would say that there's nowhere to go or that they'd been everywhere. And while there's certainly more downtown offerings now, there were places to have a drink or a meal in the relatively small area back then, too.
"The best feeling in the world is seeing people's eyes light up when they see this list and say, 'Wow! I didn't know that existed,' " Pierce says.
This year, the checklist has grown to include neighborhoods outside of downtown and lists everything from Dutch Girl Donuts and the ubiquitous coney islands to the more upscale Craft Work in West Village.
In addition to the grand prize, random winners will be selected weekly for prizes that include gift certificates and free tours.
But if you want a shot at the big prize, you'll have to be strategic and have a some time on your hands. Both previous big winners visited 200-plus bars and restaurants during the 90-day challenge.