In the spirit of having a little fun with insects and raising pest awareness, we at Ehrlich Pest Control hosted a pop-up “Pestaurant” this week in Washington, DC. The original Pestaurant event hosted last year in London by our parent company, Rentokil, was a smashing success. In 2014, Rentokil set out to host a “Global Pestaurant Day” on June 4th in 12 different countries.
Ehrlich chose to bring the one-day, insect-eating extravaganza to the nation’s capital serving an eclectic menu of bugs at Occidental Grill. The iconic DC restaurant is located right on Pennsylvania Avenue only a few minutes walk from the White House.
In addition to munching on grasshopper burgers and spiced mealworms, visitors also had an opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause – DC Central Kitchen. The nonprofit serves 5,000 meals a weak to low-income and at-risk citizens in Washington, DC while offering rigorous Culinary Job Training for the unemployed and homeless. Ehrlich Pest Control donated $5 for every person who tried an insect and $20 for every person who participated in the cricket-eating competition.
As soon as Pestaurant opened for business at 11:30 am, the patio at Occidental Grill was filled with smiles to match the sunny Washington weather. While waiting in line, attendees filled out our “Worst Pest in Washington, DC” poll in which bed bugs won out with 22% of the vote followed by cockroaches (18%) and spiders (14%). The young and old stopped by our giant fly cardboard cut-out to snap “pest selfies” and proudly wore their “I Survived Pestaurant” stickers after finishing their complimentary bugs.
Occidental Grill chef Rodney Scruggs’ grasshopper burger was a big hit with grounded up grasshopper complimenting the turkey patties and peppers. Roasted crickets were also noshed on as eating contest participants tried to eat 3 cup fulls as fast as possible. The winners received bottles of champagne (or sparkling apple juice for the one under age winner) and 2nd place winners were awarded t-shirts.
There were a number of surprise guests to the one-day event, including Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who has been a big supporter of edible insects. Ramaswamy is among the growing number of proponents of infusing our diets with insects as a way to fight world hunger.
Pestaurant by Ehrlich by from Pete Stepanek on Vimeo.
The media interest in the event was tremendous with TV crews interviewing President and CEO, John Myers, and Training Manager/Entomologist, Nancy Troyano. Photographers snapped up close photos of the pesty cuisine and the cameras honed in the 3 cricket-eating contest heats.
Media outlets that published about the event, included NPR, The Washington Post, RT, USA Today, Fox 5 DC, Eater DC, Washingtonian and more. The @EhrlichPest Twitter account received hundreds of mentions and ReTweets as guests shared their photos using the hashtag #Pestaurant. By the day’s end, #Pestaurant was trending on Twitter in Washington, DC.
Pestaurant fever, however, was not just reserved for America. From radio taste tests in Capetown to making the front page of the Trinidad Express Newspaper, our fellow Rentokil “Pestaurateurs’ across the globe helped spread pest awareness in a great variety of ways.
All in all, “Pestaurant on Pennsy” welcome around 1,000 guests to the Occidental Grill and raised $6,000 for DC Central Kitchen. Also, the one-of-a-kind event brought out the lighter side of pest control which we here at deBugged love oh so much. Thanks to everyone who came out to the event!
Would you attend a Pestaurant event in the future? Share below in the comments!
To view more photos from Pestaurant, view a full photo gallery on the Ehrlich Pest Control Facebook page.
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