We are delighted to welcome a new contributor to the pages of the Clarion Content. Amber Watson is a freelance writer and editor living in Durham. She is the creator of the local food blog, Bites of Bull City.
Today she shares her hints and tips on Restaurant Week, which is January 26th through February 1st.
Bites of Bull City: Restaurant Week
by: Amber Watson
This year, I’m going into Restaurant Week with a plan. I’ve never done that before, and I have to say, it feels much better to go in prepared. If not, the whole concept can be overwhelming and you run the risk of being too indecisive or missing out completely.
Triangle Restaurant Week 2015 is taking place from January 26 – February 1 and includes eating establishments in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and a few in Cary and Apex.
1. Review the options based on location.
Go to the Triangle Restaurant Week Website and search for restaurants based on location. If you feel like branching out, take time to browse through each area (we are hitting spots in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh this year). Look at restaurants you know you like, but also those you have heard are good. Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try something new!
Remember, you can’t order off the regular menu…participating restaurants offer special three-course options during the week, so click on the restaurant to learn what that special menu includes. If you don’t really like anything on it, move on. If you do, begin to make a list of your top choice restaurants.
2. Research to make sure it truly is a great deal.
Once you have narrowed down your favorite options based on the location and the food they will be serving, do some research. Go to the restaurant’s own website and look at their regular menu. Add up the items you see on the Restaurant Week menu to see what they would normally cost. Pricing for the event is $15 for a three-course lunch and $20-$30 for three-course dinner (not including drinks & tips). Do the math. Are you only really saving a few bucks based on what they are serving? Or is it a real steal (for instance, $30 for filet mignon, plus an appetizer, and a dessert at a nice restaurant)? Sometimes the $15 lunch is a better deal based on what you’re getting, so spend some time analyzing the menu and your options.
3. Make a game plan.
Okay, now you have your list of must-hit restaurants, you know they are good deals, you even know which places you want to go for lunch and which for dinner…now it’s time to get out your calendar and make a plan. While tickets and reservations are not required, it’s not a bad idea to book a table online. Reservations for many of the top restaurants fill up quickly. From the Triangle Restaurant Week site, click on the restaurant you want and you should see an icon for OpenTable in the top right. OpenTable shows you what spots are still open and allows you to make reservations easily online.
Now you can sit back, relax, and wait for your deliciouslu planned out week to begin.