Charity partner chosen for summer Restaurant Week

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank has been tapped as the charity benefiting from the semi-annual food-fest known as Restaurant Week.

Returning July 11 through 17, the Hook-sponsored event allows area foodies to dine at a bargain while benefiting a charity.

"This is a unique way to raise money," says Kevin Ruddle, manager of Charlottesville's branch of the hunger-fighting organization that needs funds now more than ever, as donations are down compared to last year.

"If donations continue to be down in the summer, then this money will be good to have," says Ruddle.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank was Restaurant Week's charity partner in January of 2010 when over $10,000 was raised. In all, the event has raised over $32,000 for area non-profits.

Ruddle points out that summertime means the end of meals at school, which puts additional strain on the area family food budgets. He hopes to see more community awareness as a result of the Restaurant Week connection.

"This lets people know we have local businesses behind us that support us and support what we are doing," Ruddle says.

Restaurant Week lets foodies choose from special prix fixe menus– an appetizer, entree, and dessert– for $26 with $1 from every meal dedicated to the designated charity. This summer's participating restaurants include old favorites the C&O and Fossett's as well as relative newcomers such as fondue haven the Melting Pot, sushi hotspot Ten, and the Bavarian Chef in Madison.