During the month of January, Restaurant Week is as far-reaching and ubiquitous as the frosty weather. Across the U.S., from California to Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Charleston, South Carolina, restaurants are enticing consumers—who may be reluctant to splurge after the holiday season—with prix fix specials that are hard to resist. Customers love the opportunity to try new restaurants, often using the less expensive bill of fare to sample new cuisine.
Although called Restaurant Week, the nomenclature is often more marketing sound byte than reality, as many areas extend the event beyond seven days. Or limit it to six days. Restaurant Week is not just an USA affair. Toronto’s Restaurant Week, called Winterlicious, has more than 200 of its top spots offering three-course specially priced menus from January 31st through February 13th.
Here is a sampling of Restaurant Week events across the country:
- In Alexandria, Virginia, more than 45 restaurants are offering special menus and pricing January 17th – January 26th, hoping to entice visitors to this locale just five miles south of Washington, DC. The restaurants are offering either a $35 prix-fixe three-course dinner or $35 dinner for two.
- Baltimore County in Maryland celebrates the event over 17 days, which began on Friday, January 10th and stretches until Sunday, January 26th. At last count, 53 restaurants signed on to offer diners lunch and dinner specials, ranging from $10.14 to $35.14.
- Now in its fifth year, Charleston, South Carolina’s Restaurant Week runs January 8th – January 19th, with 148 establishments participating.
- Chicago’s Restaurant Weekis held January 24th – February 6th, featuring gourmet prix-fixe menus of $22 for lunch and $33 and $44 dinner specials.
- Center City District Restaurant Week in Philadelphia returns January 19th – January 24th, and then resumes again January 26th – January 31st. More than 130 restaurants are offering three-course dinners for $35 per person. In addition, many participating restaurants will offer a three-course lunch for $20.
- Hudson County (New Jersey) Restaurant Week has nearly 50 participating operations. Officially on from January 13th – January 26th, many establishments are opting to offer the culinary event for a “Super” second week, January 27th – February 2nd, in honor of the Super Bowl, hosted in nearby MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Interestingly, New York’s Restaurant Week, typically held in mid- January, is being delayed until after the Super Bowl, so as not to conflict with the major sporting event. MetLife Stadium is less than a half-hour’s drive from midtown Manhattan (depending on traffic conditions, of course). No word yet on when New York's event will take place.
- Indianapolis Restaurant Week, called Devour Downtown, is on for January 20th – February 2nd. Sixty-two restaurants are signed on, ranging from fine-dining establishments such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, where the dinner meal will cost $35, to less expensive options, such as Shoefly Public’s House two for $40 menu.
- Kansas City, Missouri's 2014 Restaurant Week runs from January 17th – January 26th and features nearly 150 restaurant participants, including some of the city's famed steak and barbeque joints. Multi-course lunches are $15 per person and dinners are $33.
- dineLA's Restaurant Week is a 12-day dining event, running January 20th – January 31st, designed to highlight the diversity of culinary experiences the city has to offer.
- Madison (Wisconsin) Restaurant Week is offered January 19th – January 24th. Starting at $25, the 50 participating restaurants offer a prix-fixed menu with three courses and three options of each course. Some restaurants are also offering a reduced lunch menu for $15.
- The eighth annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week (in Southern California), from January 17th – January 26th, has over 60 participating restaurants. On the menu are three-course prix-fixe dinners for $20, $30 or $40 per person and/or two-course prix-fixe lunches for $10, $15 or $20 per person.
- Downtown, Norfolk (Virginia) Restaurant Week’s event, runs from January 19th – January 26th, with 16 establishments taking part.
- San Diego’s 10th annual Restaurant Week is held January 19th – January 24th, with over 180 eateries taking part. Lunch prix fix menus are $10, $15, and $20 and three-course dinner options are $25, $35, and $45.
- Santa Ynez Valley is hosting its fourth annual Restaurant Week January 19th – January 25th, as 19 restaurants provide three-course meals for $20.14.
- Triangle Restaurant Week, which encompasses the North Carolina cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hills, celebrates the culinary event from January 20th through January 26th. Nearly 70 restaurants are offering diners specially priced three-course dinner menus, at either $20 or $30 per person. Three-course lunch menus are also offered, for $15.
- In Virginia Beach, a Virginia tourist hotspot, Restaurant Week takes place January 12th – January 19th, with more than 60 of the city’s restaurants offering specially priced menus.
- In Washington, D.C., 223 restaurants are taking part in the event, which runs from January 13th – January 19th. Three-course lunches for available for $20.14 and three-course dinners for $35.14.
By Joann Whitcher