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Organizers were initially unsure if they should even proceed with Summer Restaurant Week. After all, at its core, “it’s a promotion designed to push people to restaurants,” says Kathy Hollinger of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. “And we had to really think about overall comfort levels” as well as “be very mindful of capabilities” at a time when restaurants are operating with reduced staff and limited service.
It’s also a time when restaurants, which survive on incredibly thin profit margins even in the best of times, could really use the boost. “The overwhelming response was, ‘We absolutely need Restaurant Week, even if it is reimagined and rethought,'” Hollinger says, citing surveyed members of the association.
“We wanted to offer something for everyone,” she continues. “We wanted to design a promotion that allows for the fullest flexibility and options for diners and restaurants.” As a result, this year’s Summer Restaurant Week, which starts Monday, Aug. 17, has been expanded “to include to-go offers and family style meals [and] beverage pairings.” It will also run twice as long: “It’s two weeks long this year allowing operators to ease into a longer promotion to encourage more support.”
“It’s a real big push of dine-out, takeout, and eat up, focusing on al fresco and focusing on Restaurant Week however you want it,” Hollinger says. In addition to the promotion’s standard multicourse meals available at participating restaurants for $22 per person at lunch and brunch, or $35 and $55 per person at dinner (not including tax and tip), some participating restaurants will also offer special family-style to-go meals available for curbside pickup. Prices for these RW to Go packages range from $60 to $100 for two, and $130 to $210 for four.
Over 200 restaurants are participating in the promotion, including Clyde’s, The Hamilton, Duke’s Grocery, Rasika, Tico, Oyamel, Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen, Logan Tavern, Slate Wine Bar and Xiquet by Danny Lledo, Nazca Mochica, Jaleo, The Pig, Stellina Pizzeria, Bastille, Mintwood Place, Founding Farmers, RIS, All-Purpose Pizzeria, Cafe Berlin, Sushi Ko, Centrolina, Napoli Pasta Bar, Annabelle, Officina, Ankara, The Red Hen, and Shaw’s Tavern.
“For everything that this industry has gone through,” Hollinger says, “to be above 200 going into this promo is pretty indicative of the need for diners to come out and support small business.”
Summer Restaurant Week kicks off Monday, Aug. 17, and runs to Aug. 30, at participating restaurants in D.C., suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Visit www.rwdmv.com.
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