What was good about Broad Appetit? Having 18,000 people come to my neighborhood to enjoy a beautiful day in Jackson Ward. The Sweetest Thing Bakery's coconut cupcakes (and their chocolate cupcakes...and, okay, their strawberry cupcakes). Being able to check out some of the galleries' shows in daylight.
What needs fixing with Broad Appetit? For a state with more than 140 wineries, how is it that the only wine choices at the festival were James River Cellars and Lake Anna Winery? And street/fair food vendors (gyros, corn dogs) had no place at an event that supposedly celebrated Richmond's best restaurants.
More than one person I spoke to noted that this year's festival felt dumbed down. With more restaurants represented, the variety of offerings was disappointingly blase. How many booths offered shrimp and grits? Crab cakes? For those seeking the unusual or creative, it was a real challenge to find them.
Of course, the important thing is that Broad Appetit benefited the Central Virginia Food Bank. But the bottom line is that if the event causes any of the attendees to come back to try some of the restaurants they sampled, it was a worthy event.