Dave: Over the last two years, I worked at an IT government contracting company by day and ran my culinary walking tour business, Mangia DC Food Tours, in the evenings and on weekends. I haven’t had much downtime, but I’m pursuing my dream of building my own business, so that has kept me motivated.
However, I recently made the transition to working on the tour as my full time hobby. I say hobby because it’s impossible to call this a job…I’m having way too much fun!
Jackie: What’s a culinary walking tour and what inspired you to start it?
Dave: A culinary walking tour is similar to a historic sightseeing tour, except that in addition to learning about history and architecture, you’re also stopping at some of the best and most unique local restaurants for tastings. The guide weaves the story of the food and the restaurants into the larger history of the city.
I’ve always wanted to run my own business and I love food and travel and cultural experiences. About five years ago I went on a food tour in Barcelona and enjoyed every minute of it. Plus, I’ve worked as a tour guide and have a marketing background – so it seemed like the perfect way to combine all of my passions into a business. When the idea hit me, it felt a light bulb pop up over my head like in cartoons. It took me two years of thinking about it before taking the leap to make it happen, but finally did it! The rest is history.
Jackie: What makes your food tour so unique?
Dave: Mangia DC takes its name from the Italian interjection Mangia! which translates to both “Eat!” and “Enjoy!” This Italian Food Tour pays tribute to DC’s original Italian population that resided here in DC in the late 1800s. We explore the historic Dupont and Logan Circle neighborhoods by foot and stop along the way to sample dishes from local family-owned eateries and learn about the city’s unique cultural heritage. There is no other Italian food tour like it in the city.
Dave: I love working with both tourists and locals who are interested in trying something different and experiencing the city in a new way. We have a great time. A funny moment happened on one of our tours. A server offered the group pepper and then came out with a 4-foot-long pepper mill! It was quite the ice breaker as we all could not stop laughing.
Jackie: I hear you are a new home owner for all the renters out there can you tell us what are some of the joys and challenges of a new place?
Dave: It’s great because I don’t have to worry about my rent going up like I did when I lived in an apartment! However, there’s a lot of work involved in maintaining the home and yard. We’ll see how that goes.
Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish Food?
Dave: Kugel – so good!
Jackie: Who is your favorite Jew?
Dave: My dad. My dad instilled the values of honesty, integrity, and an entrepreneurial mind set in me, which I believe is why I’ve had success as a small business owner. He’s taught me that hard work pays off.
Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Dave: we eat oh so well!