Eat, Walk and Learn on the Downtown Erie Food Tour

Kelly of Erie Food Tours and Mike of Like My Thai enjoy chatting with tour participants on the Downtown Erie Food Tour.

During the Downtown Erie Food Tour, you’ll learn the history and culture of this city by the lake while enjoying delicious food from locally owned restaurants, bakeries and specialty shops. 

We started at Like My Thai, whose owner, Mike, discovered his love of Thai food by watching food shows as he was growing up. He traced his owning the restaurant, where he is also chef, to the gift of a wok when he was a teenager! While we were at Like My Thai, we enjoyed Pad Thai, a traditional spicy rice noodle dish with carrots and green onions in a spicy chili pepper and fish sauce.

Food Halls and Food Co-ops

After the Thai restaurant, we strolled through the heart of Erie’s business district over to Gordon’s Butcher Shop in the Erie Food Co-op, an Erie Downtown Development Corporation (EDDC) initiative to bring a full service natural foods grocery store with a wide variety of healthy foods, wellness products, and body care products from local and national brands to downtown Erie. After sampling the makings of a charcuterie board — several cheeses and tasty luncheon meats — we headed to the back of the co-op, where we sampled blackened tofu salad and dragon fruit, thought to be one of the miracle fruits because of all its benefits. I simply thought it was the loveliest fruit I’d ever eaten!! Everyone asked for the recipe for the blackened tofu salad, which is sold at the co-op. But they wouldn’t share it!

Then we headed to Luminary, a local distillery for some apple pie moonshine to die for. I liked it so much I purchased two bottles: one for me and one as a gift. We also sampled lemoncello, which I also purchased… As well as coffee liqueur, their wheat whiskey, their rye whisky, and more. I enjoyed all their samples!  As far as I was concerned, I would have been happy if this was the last stop of the Downtown Erie Food Tour, but there was much more to go!

We ducked in next door to the Flagship City Food Hall, likewise an EDDC initiative. With a festival in the town square, this place was busy! The Flagship City Food Hall offers eight vendors, including Dina’s Dominican Kitchen, where we sampled mixed rice, stewed beef and a scrumptious roasted plantain before heading over to Perry’s Tavern, a pizza parlor that’s also part of the food hall, where we sampled pepperoni rolls. Elliot, the owner of Perry’s Tavern, admits he’s partial to gluten, although he offers gluten-free options. In fact, throughout the food tour, the tour guide as well as the restaurant owners were careful to ask about food allergies or dietary restrictions and offer tasty alternatives.

Sweet Ending to the Downtown Erie Food Tour

Our next to last stop was the Downtown Erie Food Tour landed at El Amigo, a Mexican restaurant, to sample the restaurant’s chicken quesadillas and table-side guac, a guacamole sauce made at your table by either the owner or a well-trained server. Finally, we headed across the street for a sweet ending!

The food tour was loads of fun, especially because walking between the restaurants took us throughout the area to historic buildings and businesses that had a great impact on Erie. Our tour guide, Kelly, shared the local history and interesting tidbits. As a visitor to Erie, it was fun hearing from a local who loves living in Erie about this quaint town on Lake Erie and sampling just a small bit of its food scene. I especially enjoyed meeting the restaurant owners and hearing about how they were inspired to open restaurants.

Know Before You Go on the Food Tour

If you’ve never been on a food tour before, then you’ll want to go on an empty stomach — the Downtown Erie Food Tour feeds you more delicious food than you’re used to eating. Consider bringing a water bottle, although water is available throughout the tour. There are also opportunities to purchase alcoholic drinks. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat if it’s sunny. This isn’t a tour for young kids.

In addition to the “original” Downtown Erie Food Tour, the company also offers historic North East Food Tour and the Happy-Appy Food Tour. Weekly food tours run seasonally from June through August. Private tours available year-round upon request.

Getting there: meeting places may vary; please check the instructions provided by Erie Food Tours for the location.
Hours: Tour times vary. Please check the website below.
Website: Erie Food Tours

Looking for more to do and see in Erie PA? Check out Visit Erie, as well as the articles below:

  • Asbury Woods — COMING SOON!
  • Erie Bluffs State Park — COMING SOON!
  • Erie Maritime Museum — COMING SOON!
  • Hagen Museum and Watson/Curtze Mansion — COMING SOON!
  • Lady Kate Boat Tour
  • Presque Isle State Park — COMING SOON!
  • Three Historic Lighthouses — COMING SOON!
  • Wintergreen Gorge Hike — COMING SOON!

If you enjoy food tours, then you’ll want to check out other food tours in the midAtlantic.