AIR’s Small Plate Crawl starts today

Appalachian egg rolls from Tupelo Honey Café, a Small Plate Crawl dish Tupelo Honey Café

It's like bingo, but edible. For three days, eat at as many restaurants as possible, and win prizes.

Nearly 30 restaurants are prepping for the second annual Small Plate Crawl, an event that encourages diners to try as many participating eateries as possible between Tuesday, Feb. 26, and Thursday, Feb. 28.

“Folks go from place to place and try out different things,” says Christine Sykes Lowe, the executive director of Asheville Independent Restaurants, the group that throws the party. “If that just happens to be one dish, then so be it. But if they decide they want to try something else and hang out for a little while longer, then that's great too.”

Prizes aside, the deals are their own incentives. Restaurants offer specials at affordable prices, usually between $3 and $8, to encourage diners to get around.

After sampling a dish, diners receive a stamp for their visit. The stamps are collected in passbooks, which are available on the Crawl's website. At the end of the Crawl, the restaurants collect the books. The number of stamps determine which prizes diners are eligible to win. The ultimate winners are determined through a drawing.

These prizes aren't just keychains and koozies. This loot is worthy of competition. Last year's grand prize was a vacation package at The Grove Park Inn.

The event is perfect for groups of friends, Lowe says. “They could order one dish and split it between all of them, and they would all be able to get their passbooks stamped,” she says. In other words, stamps are cheaper for groups.

To print a passbook, view a list of participating restaurants and get more information about the crawl, visit ashevillesmallplatecrawl.com.

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