Walla Walla hopes to win sweet title of 'Best Small Town for Food'

Walla Walla hopes to win sweet title of 'Best Small Town for Food'
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Can Walla Walla make it to the top two years in a row? Last year Rand McNally and USA Today named it the "friendliest small town in America."

The judges are back to see if Walla Walla is worthy of the title of Best Small Town for Food.

Walla Walla may have some of the best food and wine in the region. There's a festival and minor league baseball team. Kids even sell them to raise money for their sports teams.

Mike Shubic and Brian Cox Rand McNally's and USA Today's Best Of The Road judges wanted to get up close and personal with Walla Walla's longtime resident.

"It's a lot of fun to see how it goes from the farm through the processing plant and then ultimately packaged for the consumer," said foodie Mike Shubic.

The team was taken on a tour of the main onion processing plant. They saw workers process and box onions that would eventually end up in some of the dishes they would sample.

Neither judge has had a Walla Walla Sweet. Mike couldn't stand the temptation of trying one raw.

After their tour, the team will visit up to 15 restaurants. They've done the same in 5 other towns across America minus the onion tasting. Tough work but not as filling as it sounds.

"Basically, everything gets a bite. If it's good, it gets two bites. If it's great, three bites, or maybe even a to-go box," said foodie Brian Cox.

Nothing from the other towns has made it into a to-go box. But Mike and Brian have high hopes on this visit.

"We're really hoping to see some special things to hopefully put Walla Walla at the top of the list," Cox said.

The judges will do the majority of their food tasting tomorrow. They will then turn over their findings to a panel who will decide between Lewiston, NY; Burnsville, MN; Denton, TX; Santa Fe, NM and Bloomington, IN for the title.
The winner will be announced next week in Seattle.