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Get a taste of Auburn on pub, restaurant crawl

Appeteasers tours head Downtown
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Once a month, Michelle Long dons a bright-red shirt, grabs her trusty train whistle and leads a group of hungry foodies through Downtown Auburn. Long is the regional manager of Appeteasers USA, a restaurant and bar tour company headquartered in Folsom. The tours started in June and have become popular in Folsom, Roseville, Davis and Sacramento, but only recently expanded into Auburn. The first tour here was held in October. Restaurants and bars open their doors to the groups of 25 to 50 guests, offering free appetizers along with drink specials. Alfred Lee, owner of the Power Club Restaurant and Bar, said the Appeteasers tours are a great way to promote Downtown Auburn. “We’re part of this community, and we love the people who come by,” Lee said. “We want to help them get to know us in terms of the quality of our food and our establishment.” The Power Club is the start of the tours, and Lee pulls out all the stops, serving marinated meatballs, sliders, chicken wings, quesadillas and potato skins. “We work with locally owned and operated business,” Long said. “We avoid chains. We want to bring people to local areas to help support these businesses and keep them here.” Other stops along the tour – offered for $30 to attendees 21 and over – are Gimmie Cake Too, Little Belgium Deli and Beer Bar, Local Heroes, tre Pazzi, Bob and Betty’s 160 Club and Monkey Cat. Each stop lasts half an hour, and Long blows her whistle to let folks know when it’s time for the group to get going. Appeteasers USA started after Bob and Chris Quinlan went on a pub crawl that had more than 100 people. That meant long lines and cold food, and the couple left the tour early. “On the way home, Bob said, ‘I really like this concept, but I can do it better,’” Long said. “We limit our groups to a minimum of 25 guests to a maximum of 50, and we focus on the food as well – the local flavors of the restaurants.” Long said the Appeteasers concept has proven successful, so much so that the company will soon expand into Portland, Ore., Seattle, and San Diego. Dixon residents Bill and Sharon Swifka had never been to Auburn before the November tour, and said they were enjoying their Sunday out on the town. They decided to branch out after a tour in Sacramento. “We had so much fun in Sacramento we wanted to try another one,” Sharon Swifka said. Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com. -------------------------------------- Appeteasers USA What: A progressive party visiting up to seven restaurants and pubs on a four-hour walking tour Locations: Auburn, Davis, Folsom, Roseville, Sacramento Cost: $30 per person, 21 and over only Information: www.appeteasersusa.com