Culinary work-out: Restaurant Week 'widens circle of friends'
Once again, it looks like Restaurant Week has resuscitated the dining scene in the dead of winter, drawing thousands out to our area's favorite restaurants.While the Hook is still waiting for the numbers to come in from the 18 restaurants that participated, right now we know that the C&O, Orzo, Ten, Fossett's, Maya, The Bavarian Chef, and the Boar's Head Inn served a combined 5,465 meals during the week.
That means the chosen charity this time, Meals on Wheels, has a check for at least $5,465 coming–- with less than half the restaurants reporting their numbers!
"Restaurant Week is a growing Charlottesville tradition we're proud to be a part of,"says Fossett's general manager Matthias Smith. "It's truly a terrific opportunity for us to showcase Fossett's. We're also thrilled to support the philanthropic component of the event."
So thrilled, in fact, that Smith says Keswick plans to match each one of its guests $1 contributions to Meal on Wheels ($1 of each $26 prix fixe meal goes to the charity) as part of Restaurant Week, something he says they'll continue to do in the future.
"It was awesome, a huge success,"exclaims Orzo's Ken Wooten."We were packed every night. When it snowed, we lost some reservations, but people who couldn't get a table repeatedly called to see if anybody had cancelled due to the weather, so all of the cancellations were quickly filled up again."
Now that Restaurant Week has a little history behind it, it appears restaurant owners and chefs are beginning to recognize other benefits beside the obvious one.
"You know in what high regard you stand by the feverishness in which people try to get reservations,"observes Fossett's executive chef Dean Maupin."This past week has inspired us to start planning for the next Restaurant Week."
"We're getting better at pulling it off,"says the C&O's Dave Simpson."I like restaurant week because it exposes us to people who might not otherwise come here, or who haven't before–-it widens our circle of friends."
Indeed, 2011's first Restaurant Week also widened our circle of participants. Brookville and The Bavarian Chef signed on, and although the latter is all the way out in Madison, and despite the weather, people made the trek out to the iconic German-style eatery off of 29 North.
"We saw a lot of new faces and enjoyed serving such a happy, friendly crowd,"co-owner Christine Thalwitz reports."It was great fun for a great cause. Our team is already looking forward to doing it again."
"It's a culinary-cardio workout at this time of year when things are slow,"says Simpson. "It's good preparation for our staff heading into the year."