For the benefit of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Alexandria is getting ready to rock. And though the event is called Rock the Block, diners will feast along many, many blocks, from Carlyle down to the waterfront. The event takes place Nov. 7 from 6-9 p.m., and its reach extends across Old Town.
“It’s a culinary tour where you eat and drink as much as you want from the restaurants that pretty much close to the public,” says National Center for Missing and Exploited Children director of development Brian MacNair. “…A lot of times, these culinary tours or bar crawls…. You go and you buy tickets and you get samples based on your ticket purchase. This is drink and eat all you can – we either pay the restaurants to close down or partially close down – and then they choose their menu. …It gives the restaurants an opportunity to highlight themselves while doing good for a charity.”
And while the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is certainly the chief beneficiary, ticketholders certainly reap rewards of their own. Beginning at 6 p.m., they’ll start off at their assigned first stop, pick up a wristband, and launch into a food tour across Old Town. From the Carlyle offerings – Tequila and Taco, Whiskey and Oyster – over to the newly renovated Joe Theismann’s restaurant and on down King Street to Vermilion, Augie’s, Majestic, Mia’s and more, the food options are abundant and ripe for nearly every taste.
Along with the more traditional eateries, the Charles Schawb outpost at 1920 Ballenger Avenue is hosting its own pop-up, complete with food from Sweet Fire Donna’s, drinks from Lost Boy Cider and live music to keep the festivities going.
And lest diners think it’s all calorie intake and no output, MacNair begs to differ.
If guests walk the full map and hit each restaurant, “it’s a total of 2,000 steps, so they can get their steps in,” he said.
But the food and drink is only a part of the point of the evening. Rock the Block supports the NCMEC’s work in protecting children from exploitation and keeping them safe. Along with working to locate missing children, MacNair says the Rock the Block evening helps fund the organization’s programs centered on preventing child exploitation. Millions of tips come in each year about Internet exploitation, for instance, and helping children safely navigate the Web is something the center is focused on.
Last year, Rock the Block hosted eight restaurants and about 500 participants; this year, MacNair is hoping for 700 to 800 participants to visit the dozen restaurants that dot the map.
IF YOU GO
Rock the Block
When: Nov. 7, 6-9 p.m. (VIP ticketholders can also access pre- and post-events)
Tickets: $125 for general admission; $300 for VIP entry.
How to purchase: Visit www.rocktheblocks.org.