Diners will once again get an opportunity to eat at some of the Miami Valley’s best restaurants at affordable prices, while helping to support local charity’s during Restaurant Week July 24 – 31. More than 60 restaurants will be offering multi-course prix fixe menus at either $20.11, $25.11 or $30.11.
DaytonDinings Tips: Make reservations when possible
This multi-tiered pricing is a new twist from the traditional $20 and change (based on the year) format that had been used since the introduction of Restaurant Week in 2005. This past winter the Miami Valley Restaurant Association (MVRA) raised the price to $25.11 and according to several restaurateurs guests had a mixed reaction to the price increase. So as a compromise this time around, restaurants will pick the price point they feel is best for them and guests can choose based on menu’s, many of which can be found on the MVRA site.
Upon perusing the menu’s on the site it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the array of choices. Some eateries like Benhams and Sidebar are offering meals at several price points. Others will be offering dinner for 2 at the pre-set prices like Dublin Pub and Hickory River Smokhouse, offering meals for 2 at $20.11, Chappy’s Tap Room & Grill, Pepito’s & Spinoza’s meal deals are 2 for $25.11 and Kabuki will feed 2 for $30.11. Based on the menu’s currently posted, it looks like only Fleming’s and The Melting Pot are offering a dinner for one for $30.11
Many restaurants are closed on Sun &/or Monday- check first
Traditionally Restaurant Week has kicked off on Sunday and ended on Friday. This summer’s promotion has been extended to run Sunday through Sunday. But take notice – not all restaurants are participating in the extended days, according to the MVRA website. And keep your eye out, several restaurants often carry over the dining deals for a second week.
No matter where you chose to dine, part of the package includes a donation to charity partners. $1 of each meal will be shared by Hope Blooms, MVRA Scholarship Fund, Icky Woods Foundation, Clothes That Work. With restaurant week occurring twice a year, 14 weeks of donations have amounted to over $100,000 in n support of local nonprofits.
While saving on your meal- splurge on wine to compliment your meal
Many people have a love/hate relationship with Restaurant Week. Before I go any further, I should admit that I was the President of the Restaurant Association when this promotion was launched and I am quite proud of the impact it’s had on our community. But I know folks that dine out regularly and avoid this week due to the crowd, while appreciating the volume it creates for our local businesses. I also have a group of friends that can’t wait for the menu’s to be posted so they can plan their eating extravaganzas.
Restaurant staff also have mixed feelings about this promotion. Most appreciate that they will be busy all week, but I’ve heard bartenders complain that while the servers and cooks are busy, that guests aren’t buying anything but the dining deal and therefore they don’t make much money. As a former restaurateur, I know that those who embrace this promotion as a marketing opportunity are the ones that get the most from it. Owver/Chef Wiley at Meadowlark has been a great example from the very beginning. She involved her staff, planned creative meals and promoted the menu’s ahead of time to her regular guests and even poured wine for waiting guests. Savona got creative pairing value wines with each course.
Menu offerings can change – be flexible
I too, have things I dislike about this week. Like restaurants that sign up for the promotion, but don’t get buy in from their staff. I’ve been to several places that print a special Restaurant Week menu on an insert and the guests get seated without the promo menu. Whether intentional or an oversight, I’ve then heard guests questioning whether the restaurant is participating or that they don’t see the $20.11 meal. Restaurants please don’t make it hard for guests to partake. The MVRA also promotes a contest offering guests a chance to win gift certificates for filling out a comment card, but many restaurants don’t pass them out- so be sure and ask your server for yours and your meal deal can really pay off if you win!
If you do go out for these dining deals, please keep in mind that for many places, this is the busiest week of the year for them and that can mean longer waits, frazzled staff and sometimes running out of the advertised items. Be patient and please remember to share the savings you got on your meal when you tip. Happy dining!