There’s a group of Tooele folk that love food and share their local restaurant experiences and the joy of eating with others online.
The Tooele Foodies, a Facebook group consisting of residents of Tooele County who love food, was created in March 2021, by Ky Tawhai, a local business owner.
“I love food and I love the best local spots,” Tawhai said. “I wanted Tooele Foodies to be a place where the community could connect with the business owners and different shops in our town to support small business and enjoy great food together.”
By creating the group, Tawhai hoped to promote local restaurants, rather than large chains.
“We are all familiar with the posts in community groups that are about disappointment, about another shop closing, or ‘We need a Sizzler,’” Tawhai explained. “I honestly felt a little frustrated, because we have so many great locals to support but we don’t, and then we are sad when business isn’t sustainable for them, and they close. So, this group was created in the hopes of supporting the ones we’ve got and being the one place to find exactly what [food] you’re looking for.”
Group member Natalie Norman, also loves local restaurants.
“The thing I love about the group is the focus on locally owned businesses,” Norman said. “It’s hard work to run your own business. A chain restaurant can go almost anywhere and be successful. It’s so much harder for independent restaurants. Local support is what keeps those businesses operating.”
Tooele Foodies has grown to over 1,600 group members on Facebook and continues to grow.
“It’s a great community group that connects you to the eateries,” Tawhai said. “We can support local and everyone is so helpful when it comes to helping you find your favorite coffee, best new dish, or where to get that plate you’ve been craving.”
Along with showcasing group members’ favorite local food, the Foodies page also spotlights new businesses and businesses who need a little help, because things have been slow, according to Tawhai.
Restaurant owners can also use the group to post specials that they have going on at their restaurant or any events that they may be hosting soon.
When Tawhai created the group, her plan was to host meetups at different restaurants throughout the county. Last year, group members met at the Ninja Ramen Bar.
“Ninja Ramen was super excited to have us,” Tawhai said, speaking about their meetup. “Hopefully we will have more this coming year.”
Tawhai’s favorite thing about Tooele Foodies is the positivity.
“I love how positive an atmosphere it is,” she said, speaking about the group. “We’re focused on the good. I feel like the group so far has respectfully been able to share their opinions when something wasn’t quite right.”
In the future, Tawhai hopes to gain more members and host more meetups.
“I have so many ideas of how this group could be really fun and beneficial for both residents and business owners, in time,” she said.
The group has a few diehard fans who sang Foodie praises.
“Being new to Tooele, I was excited to find local gems to try out with my little family,” Kellie Bishop said. “The community has highlighted and suggested some places that I otherwise never would have ventured to or found. Doing so, I have found a great sense of community, town history, and made memories along the way.”
Before trying any new food in town, Julissa Ruby visits her favorite Tooele Foodies group.
“This page is always my go to when I want to try something new in town,” Ruby said. “I am like ‘Has this been on the Foodies page?’ or “Let me check what the Foodies page has to say,” so I would be so lost if it weren’t for the page.”
Along with Facebook, the Tooele Foodies have an Instagram page that Tawhai runs.