OSKALOOSA — Starting at 3 p.m. on Monday, the public can vote on their favorite video or restaurant con- cept for Iowa’s Best Bite Restaurant Challenge, the nationwide contest seeking a restaurateur for the former Dr. Salami’s location.
To vote, visit www.iowasbestbite.com and click on the “View Videos & Vote” link. You may vote once per day and voting ends at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 10, with the winner added to the semifinals.
“It’s a very exciting time for Oskaloosa,” said contest organizer Bryan Schultz. “While the selection committee is going through business plans and menus to find semifinalists, the public actually gets to choose one semifinalist by vot- ing for their video. Most people never have a say at what restaurant comes to their town, so this is special.”
According to Schultz, not every contestant has submitted a video, as the amount of planning and detail required in the business planning stage meant some did not have time to produce a video.
“Some people found out about the contest right away and had time for videos, some found out late in the game and had to prioritize,” he said. “We’ve had great interest this year, with contestants ranging from San Diego to New York to folks raised right here in Osky.”
During the semifinals, selected contestants will have 10 minutes to “pitch” their concept to the judges and then answer questions about their detailed business plans, financial projec- tions and more.
“The semifinals will be a tough round,” Schultz said. “We have business and industry leaders who will have studied their plans, look- ing for potential weak- nesses, so I expect a tense day for candi- dates.”
The finals will feature more public input: about a dozen area residents have been invited to be tasting judges, and will taste a signature appetiz- er, entree and dessert from the two contestants to make it to the finals. Their scores and com- ments will be used by contest judges to deter- mine the winner.
“Oskaloosa should be proud at how they’ ve embraced the contest,” Schultz said. “People had no problem donating their time and energy into making this happen. The winner will be very, very lucky to be here.”