The games began on Memorial Day weekend (Sunday, May 25, to be exact) as local businesses along Santa Monica's Main Street came together to raise money to support the street's 14th Annual Summer SOULstice – to be held on June 21-22 – and to help the Heal the Bay foundation, by hosting MAINopoly: A Taste of Main Street, which was a foodie version of the classic board game Monopoly.
The festivities started at Enterprise Fish Co. where guests checked in and received wristbands, a playing card listing the participants and MAINopoly money to be used for tastings as players moved along the board/street. Several of the businesses also offered happy hour-priced food items and discounted drink specials. Enterprise served a refreshing and spicy tilapia ceviche. They also acted as the host beer garden set up on their outdoor patio. Other standout food selections included the tasty California roll at Tsukiji Sushi Sen, the veggie burger at Rick's Tavern, the chicken pesto sandwich at Panini Garden and the wings at Basement Tavern. Areal provided a second beer garden and served a nice crab and avocado bite. M Street Kitchen and Stella Barra satisfied everyone's sweet tooth with killer brownie bites and salted caramel custard.
The beautiful weather made it a perfect day for folks to stroll along the MAINopoly route, and a great day for revelers to dress up as Monopoly-themed characters or in patriotic attire honoring Memorial Day. It was quite a vision along Main Street as the costumed food-and-drink lovers roamed from eatery to eatery along the route. Adding to the excitement of the day was the chance to win a prize pack with gift certificates to the participating locations. At each stop, guests got their playing card stamped and only those that completed every stop along the way were eligible for the prize pack.
The first annual MAINopoly: A Taste of Main Street was a terrific way to check out the neighborhood's fine variety of restaurants, bars, coffee and dessert shops. And because of it, Main Street in Santa Monica can afford to host their annual Summer SOULstice event in late June, which will feature free live music and kids' activities as well as sidewalk sales, dining and shopping.
Follow Jenny Peters and Spywitness on Twitter at @jennpeters.