Pratik Dash made a lot of friends back in high school. Besides being an immediately likable guy, he had an ace in the hole.
“I think I made a lot of friends because of my mom’s Indian food,” says Dash, the Communications Coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). It’s that simple premise, that food is a universal language that breaks down barriers and creates bonds, that is at the surface of TIRRC’s 3rd Annual InterNASHional Food Crawl. The event on September 5 invites the public to pay $10 to travel Nolensville Road – Nashville’s international corridor – to sample the food from a variety of international restaurants. While the official list of participating restaurants has not been announced as of this post, Dash says attendees will get to sample Indian, El Salvadoran, Honduran, Mexican, Kurdish, Turkish, Thai, Ethiopian and various types of Middle Eastern food.
Once you’re pulled in by the deliciousness of popusas, kabobs, curries and more, Dash hopes you’ll appreciate Nashville’s immigrant community on a deeper level.
“This is part of the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative,” says Dash.“ The main point is to lift up the contributions that immigrants bring to Nashville and raise awareness for just how many different diverse cultures are out there in this city. Many of the participants have never traveled down Nolensville Road or even know that we have a large Ethiopian or South Asian community and even the largest Kurdish community in the US. There’s such a rich diversity in Nashville that strengthens our culture and economy. We’re trying to put a spotlight on that.”
In addition to the $10 self-guided crawl, this year’s event also includes a $30 VIP Bus Tour option, complete with transportation and drinks. In addition to avoiding traffic on Nolensville, or attempting to navigate by foot or on bike – it’s spread out over four miles – Dash says you’ll have your own personal tour guide to tell you about the diversity in Nashville and the history of each restaurant. The bus tour will begin and end at Plaza Mariachi, also known as the parking lot at Taj Indian Restaurant. For those not on the VIP bus wanting to walk, there are several restaurants within walking distance from Plaza Mariachi.
“We are trying our best to limit the amount of driving and keep the restaurants that are close together on the same track so that people can take the option of walking or biking there.”
Tickets for the InterNASHional Food Crawl are available now at nashvillefoodcrawl.com. General Admission tickets will be mailed. VIP tickets will be held at Will Call at Plaza Marichi.
For more about TIRRC, visit tnimmigrant.org.