Dave Saxe, 30, of Kensington, founded the food tour company Mangia D.C. Food Tours in 2013. “Mangia” means “eat” and “enjoy” in Italian. He now has a team of five people. He said that being part of a community is important to him and that his work enables him to have those connections.
What was it like to start your own business?
I always wanted to be a business owner — my grandfather and father were both business owners, so it was kind of in my blood to do something, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The ultimate goal whenever you start a business is to do something you’re passionate about. I have a lot of interests — I love to eat, I was a business major in college and I worked as a tour guide, so I combined these three talents to start an organization.
Tell us more about your father and your grandfather both owning businesses and the effect that had on you.
My grandfather had an advertising business. Unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to know him, but my dad always used to tell me stories about how he used to connect with the community. Aside from being a business owner, he co-founded a synagogue in a suburb outside of Philadelphia [SJCC B’nai Aaron, which no longer exists, but existed for decades]. He had his business, and his [personal] network was the synagogue. I always heard about my grandfather and how connected he was to the community, and that passed down to my father, who stayed in the same town. There was a lot instilled within my lineage to help me get me to where I am today.
Tell us about what you do at Mangia D.C. Food Tours.
The gist behind Mangia DC food tours is that you’re connecting with the history, culture and architecture of a certain walking radius while tasting from off-the-beaten path, locally-owned restaurants.
We also donate a portion of every ticket sold to a local charity, So Others Might Eat. That allows the less fortunate to be fed, too.
Any for-profit organization should always find ways to give back and be able to connect to the community. Our organization is all about being able to connect with locals inside the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and give them a unique experience they haven’t had before, but also to connect with out-of-towners. Making connections and giving back is what makes the world goes around, and I’m very happy to be able to do that in my work.
You played volleyball in the World Maccabiah Games. Can you talk more about that?
In 2009 I ended up at Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympics that happens every four years in Israel. Supposedly it’s the third largest Olympic games: it’s the regular Olympics, then the Special Olympics and finally the Jewish Olympics.
I am 6 foot 3 and I’m used to be the tallest one in the room, but I was actually average height for the people on the team, which I got a kick out of.