By Sophia Ricco
A crime has been committed in Huntington and it’s up to foodies to follow clues and their appetite to figure out. Food Done It?
This one-of-a-kind food tour experience, Food Done It?, combines the fun of solving a mystery with a sampling of Long Island’s prime restaurants. Founders Elizabeth and Kevin Hindley, wanted to showcase local eats with a fun twist inspired by escape rooms, trivia and the TV show Sherlock. The idea came to Elizabeth in 2017 after a student’s parent asked her about her passion for food.
Elizabeth has a deep appreciation for Huntington’s village full of eateries.
“In Huntington I had grown up going from restaurant to restaurant,” Elizabeth said. “We would never eat at one place. We’d always have a progression. Have a little bit of this and a little of that. We would call it ‘grazing’.”
The Hindleys took the idea of a mystery food tour and ran with it studying towns’ restaurants scenes, crafting characters for the crimes, and creating engaging puzzles for clues. As a grassroots startup, Food Done It? was eager work with other local businesses.
“Our heart and our passion is to celebrate Long Island restaurants with our tour,” Elizabeth said. “These are people who are spending thousand of dollars, have their whole heart in it and have so many moving pieces, we want to showcase that.”
Food Done It? operates in Huntington, Patchogue and Babylon. Each locale has a unique mystery to solve, from an stolen engagement ring to a chili-eating champion found dead in a freezer.
“We’re basically building a fictitious town on Long Island called Mist Reef Hill,” Elizabeth said. “If you say it really fast, it sounds like mystery-ville. We’re trying to set the level really high, so that the people who really do get into it understand these little nuances.”
“Inspectors” for the F.D.I. are equipped with glasses adorned with fake mustaches as they eat their way through the crime at a variety of eateries.
“Every tour has literally and figuratively its own flavor,” Elizabeth said. “Some places bring out a huge platter that you can all dive into, while others have a mini-menu and you can choose your own.”
Those who embark on the “Cupcake Conundrum” in Huntington will enjoy five courses and around four hours of entertainment as they interrogate suspects and solve clues.
“People get tired of routine. We all have a need for comfort, but we also have a need for adventure,” Kevin said. “It hits that mark and helps people relax and have fun.”
Characters come to life with the help of drawings by California artist Jack Kasprzak and Kevin’s thoughtfully-written dialogue that gives each suspect a persona.
“Some people get really into the game and mystery, while other people are just foodies and love to try different things,” Kevin said. “It draws a lot of different kinds of people.”
Inspectors must solve puzzles related to the mystery, to unlock their next restaurant stop. As a teacher, Elizabeth was able to create interactive puzzles with props like wooden ciphers and magnets to simple word scramblers on paper.
“We had to create puzzles that were interactive and just at that sweet spot, where you’re waiting for your food to come and you’re enjoying the puzzle but it’s not too hard or easy,” Elizabeth said.
Living in East Patchogue, the Hindleys began Food Done It? locally, but were eager to bring the tour to other towns. They are hoping to expand and add a new town and mystery soon.
“The first time we went outside of Patchogue, we said it has to be Huntington and we love our Huntington partners,” Kevin said. “We’re really proud to be in Huntington.”
The Hindleys found Huntington has the most exotic cuisine of all the towns, offering inspectors a variety of flavors and atmospheres. Elizabeth feels, there is something about Huntington, that you can’t quite put your finger on, but something is extraordinary about the town. Food Done It? hopes to bring inspectors to hidden gems, that they may have never heard of but will walk away loving.
“We both love to cook and are foodies,” Kevin said. “We put together menus of food that are really high quality, delicious and pretty universal. We try to make it so that by the end of the tour, you feel like you’ve eaten a full meal.”
Food Done It? hosts afternoon and evening tours Tuesday through Thursday, as well as tours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Tours cost $60 per person.
Food Done It?
Huntington, Babylon and Patchogue