The Valparaiso Restaurants are known for their sweet disposition, and their future is getting sweeter by the day! Why? Because they believe in working as a community and their positive energy has become contagious. The restaurants have welcomed new members. They embrace working shoulder-to-shoulder with the City. Members have enlisted the support of generous businesses in the community for sponsorships and support. Through working smart and supporting each other, their unique story has even helped attract people and businesses from around the nation.
SoChatti Chocolate, an international chocolate company, fell in love with Valpo when they saw Valparaiso Restaurants’ nationally ranked blog, “Guide to Outdoor Dining.” Attracted by the positive story of restaurants working together, Indianapolis’ Robert Kirch saw an opportunity to build his SoChatti’s brand in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana by meeting the Chefs in Valpo.
Of course, in Valpo, success comes with the partnership. The Valparaiso Restaurants welcomed SoChatti to participate in their grassroots Adult Trick-Or-Treat Event they had planned for Halloween. As a partner, SoChatti agreed to supply FREE chocolate to Trick-Or-Treaters. They also offered their unique chocolate pouches to the restaurants to be used in cocktails, desserts, and dishes.
The Adult Trick-Or-Treat event was remarkable! The members of the Valparaiso Restaurants were able to give their community a safe and wonderful night of fun without any expense to the town or restaurants. It also allowed the community to experience the unique dark chocolate of SoChatti. These days, everyone is talking about SoChatti and has been featured on numerous network Chef shows and morning programming. The organic chocolate’s reputation has grown through the culinary world, and Valpo is known for its innovative chefs.
The mouse that roared! Valpo Restaurants blog goes national!
While last year’s pandemic hit the restaurants around the nation hard, the Valparaiso Restaurant Association knew the key to survival would require tenacity, vision, and community. With the momentum established prior to the pandemic, the restaurants continued efforts to unite the restaurants and businesses as one community while leveraging the benefits of unity. Without a large budget, the restaurant’s marketing efforts leveraged innovative and efficient marketing to reach, attract, and engage people from around the Midwest.
Through forward-thinking digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the restaurants were able to tell their unique story on a shoestring budget. Blogging, when done right, is the super tool of any SEO campaign. Much like the restaurant’s remarkable cuisine, the Association’s blogs were created to impress.
Google must have been impressed; the blog reached page 1 nationally when searching, “Outdoor Dining,” and also earned the top spot for Google’s recommended reads. While ranking at the top of searches in Chicago was beneficial in attracting Chicago’s foodies, it also engaged Indianapolis’s chocolate factory, SoChatti Chocolate.
SoChatti’s Robert Kirch first contacted the author of the blog and marketer for Valpo’s Restaurants, Jim ‘Jano’ Janesheski. Kirch wanted to see how he might get an introduction to Valpo’s sensational chefs. As culinary chocolate, SoChatti is both a candy bar and a secret weapon for many great Chefs around the world. Its huge following can be attributed to America’s top chefs.
Jano explained to Kirch that in Valpo, we work as a community and for win-wins. He proposed an arrangement that would allow each restaurant to pass out Free Chocolate Bars to Adult Trick-Or-Treat planned for Halloween. Working with the Valparaiso Restaurants was a great fit! As SoChatti fell in love with Valpo, their commitment grew.
Each exotic chocolate bar has a value of nearly $3. It gave everyone that attended the event a chance to try the organic chocolate. But the win-wins didn’t stop with free chocolate. SoChatti also offered each restaurant $60-$100 worth of chocolate pouches to serve in drinks, desserts, and other treats. While the pouches were complimentary, the restaurants were allowed the choice of selling the chocolate drinks and desserts.
The Free Chocolate gave Valpo a chance to fall in love with SoChatti!
While Trick-Or-Treat guests were given free chocolate bars, it also gave the restaurants a chance to sell drinks and desserts made from SoChatti’s exotic dark chocolate. Each Chef had a chance to do what they do best….make something magical from the unique, organic dark chocolate. Don Quijote’s Elena Jambrina made Spanish desserts and Tommy B’s made chocolate Martinis. Each restaurant also offered 1 penny shots at the adult event. many using dark chocolate as one of the choices.
It was a win-win! SoChatti discovered new, creative ways of serving the 100 percent natural dark chocolate while having the benefit of being introducing their chocolate to people from all over Northwest Indiana and Chicago.
Perhaps the biggest winners were the people from Northwest Indiana and Chicago that attended the event. It was very rewarding for the Chefs to see so many people smiling and having fun again. While the pandemic made 2020 a difficult year, the spirit of coming together helped support the Valparaiso Restaurants’ sweet disposition.
2021 brings new culinary events to Valparaiso | “Confessions of a Chef Fest”
Everyone agreed that the Valpo Restaurants’ Adult Trick-or-Treat was a huge success! They agreed to bring the grassroots event back for 2021. The Downtown Restaurants are also planning a season full of events, including an April 2 culinary event for people that fast during the Easter season and seafood connoisseurs. They are calling it, “Good Friday Seafood & Spirits” (Read More).
Food & Wine events are scheduled throughout the year at the restaurants, culminating with three events in the fall. Included is the return of the Adult-Trick-Or-Treat event, A Chef Event at Central Park, and a special celebration of the Christmas Tree to end the season.
Fans of cooking will especially love the Chef event at Central Park on September 18th. Called the Confessions of a Chef Fest, the Chefs team up with the Valpo Restaurant’s newest partner, the Valparaiso Parks Department. The Group is also working shoulder-to-shoulder with the support of the City of Valparaiso.
SoChatti returns for 2021 Valpo Restaurants Adult Trick-Or-Treat!
With a season of restaurant-centric events planned throughout 2021, the question on the minds of Northwest Indiana’s biggest chocolate fans is…. will SoChatti be back with more FREE international chocolates???
Robert Kirch from SoChatti visits Valparaiso tomorrow, March 12 to finalize an agreement with the Valparaiso Restaurant that will bring back Free Chocolate to this year’s Adult Trick-Or-Treat. Kirch has revealed that visiting is just a formality; his true intent in visiting the Vale of Paradise is to hopefully meet some of the chefs and experience a few more Valparaiso restaurants.
Kirch loves his job because it allows him to meet so many amazing Chefs. When it comes to great Chefs, Valpo is as good as it gets!
Stay connected with the Valparaiso Restaurants 2021 Events