Restaurant Week Toledo returns Feb. 24-March 2Written by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
A week featuring special menus developed by local restaurants with a portion of proceeds benefiting a local nonprofit is a recipe that gets local foodies and philanthropists alike looking forward to Restaurant Week Toledo each year.
“In just three years we have built this into a to-do food event in Toledo,” said Cory Dippold, associate executive director of Leadership Toledo. “Whether you are a casual diner or a foodie, Restaurant Week Toledo allows the community to try new restaurants at affordable prices or possibly try a new menu item at a favorite dining spot.”
The fourth annual Restaurant Week Toledo is set for Feb. 24 through March 2. A portion of proceeds will benefit two youth programs of Leadership Toledo: Youth Leadership Toledo and Students in Action.
The event, presented by Medical Mutual, offers “a culinary taste of Toledo” and will feature new venues as well as returning favorites, said Restaurant Week Toledo co-chair Becca Gorman. Last year’s event featured 28 restaurants and drew in more than 10,000 diners.
“There really was something for everyone last year and this year will be the same,” Gorman said.
Participating restaurants include 5th Street Pub, Avenue Bistro, The Beirut, Burger Bar 419, The Café at The Oliver House, Caper’s Restaurant & Bar, Gradkowski’s, Element 112, ICE Restaurant & Bar, Korea Na, La Scola Italian Grill, Loma Linda, Mama La Scola, Mancy’s Bluewater Grille, Mancy’s Italian Grill, Mancy’s Steaks, Maumee Wines and Bistro, Poco Piatti, Registry Bistro, Revolution Grille, Rockwell’s at The Oliver House, Rosie’s Italian Grille, Shorty’s True American Roadhouse, Social and Ventura’s. A few more restaurants will still be added before the start of the promotion, Gorman said.
Each of the restaurants, which include venues in Toledo, Maumee, Perrysburg, Swanton and Sylvania, will feature a special menu priced at $10, $20 or $30. (Drinks, taxes and gratuities are not included unless specified.) Each venue will also include at least one meal designated a healthy option.
“Everyone wins — the restaurant owners for the increased traffic and marketing exposure, the customers who have a fun week of dining and trying new spots while getting a good value, and Leadership Toledo, which receives proceeds from the restaurants,” Gorman said.
New this year will be a kickoff party, set for Feb. 19 at Registry Bistro in Downtown Toledo. Restaurant Week Toledo co-chair Margot Estes said she plans to offer samples of menu items from various restaurants as well as beer and wine tastings.
“They are still working on the details, but I think it will be great,” said Erika Rapp, chef and co-owner of Registry Bistro. “It will build a lot of buzz and build up momentum for the full week.”
This will be Registry Bistro’s second year with Restaurant Week Toledo.
“We had a wonderful experience [last year],” Rapp said. “It was our first year in business and Restaurant Week Toledo gave us a lot of great exposure to people who didn’t know about us or hadn’t been in yet. It’s a great opportunity for people to try a new restaurant. Especially being new and being included in a group of restaurants that were well-established, I think that was really helpful for us.”
Korea Na manager Sam Kim said he’s looking forward to participating for the first time. The eatery moved to a new location on Bernath Parkway about six months ago.
“It’s good publicity for the restaurant and part of the proceeds go toward Leadership Toledo’s youth programs,” Kim said. “We just feel it’s a good opportunity to expose our restaurant a bit and also contribute back to the organization.”
Burger Bar 419 will take part for the third year, this time at two locations since its Monroe Street location opened in May.
“Restaurant Week Toledo really took off within the past two years,” said co-owner Tony House. “I think the public really enjoys the idea and being able to get out and hit all these restaurants they normally wouldn’t.”
House said his favorite part is the anticipation leading up to the event.
“You hear about it for months: It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s going to be here soon,” House said. “It’s definitely fun for the staff and gets them amped up. The volume we see goes up dramatically.”
Ventura’s has participated in Restaurant Week Toledo since its inception.
“It seems like every year it gets larger,” said owner Valerie Mundt-Scott. “We’ve had a great time with it. It brings in a lot of new faces and that’s always a plus. And the money goes to a good cause. That’s obviously the No. 1 reason. People look forward to this. There’s so many great restaurants involved. As a restaurant, you definitely want to be in the midst of it all.”
Money raised by Restaurant Week Toledo funds programs that help area teens “realize what their leadership roles and responsibilities are and how to maximize their impact in their workplaces, schools and community,” Dippold said.
“Since our youth programs do not charge tuition, we must fundraise to cover costs and Restaurant Week Toledo is an innovative way to help support our mission while also supporting local restaurants,” he said.
Youth Leadership Toledo is a nine-month program that works with select high school sophomores to develop leadership skills and community service. Since 1998, more than 750 students have participated in the program, Dippold said. This year’s class is comprised of 51 students from 30 regional high schools.
Students in Action, a component of the national Jefferson Awards organization, recognizes area students doing community volunteer work. Since starting in four local schools as a pilot program in 2008, the program has expanded into more than 30 schools, including St. Ursula Academy, which was named one of the top four programs in the country last year, Dippold said. Participating students logged more than 213,000 service hours last school year.
Toledo Free Press is a media sponsor of Restaurant Week Toledo. Other sponsors include WTOL, 419 Design, Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies, Directions Credit Union, 2-Scale and Homewood Press.
For more information, visit restaurantweektoledo.com.
Tags: 2-Scale, 419 Design, 5th Street Pub, Avenue Bistro, Burger Bar 419, Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies, Caper’s Restaurant & Bar, Directions Credit Union, Element 112, Gradkowski’s, Homewood Press, ICE Restaurant & Bar, Korea Na, La Scola Italian Grill, Leadership Toledo, Leadership Toledo: Youth Leadership Toledo and Students in Action, Loma Linda, Mama La Scola, Mancy's Steaks, Mancy’s Bluewater Grille, Mancy’s Italian Grill, Maumee, Maumee Wines and Bistro, Medical Mutual, Perrysburg, Poco Piatti, Registry Bistro, Restaurant Week Toledo, Revolution Grille, Rockwell’s at The Oliver House, Rosie's Italian Grille, Shorty's True American Roadhouse, Social and Ventura’s, Swanton, Sylvania, The Beirut, The Café at The Oliver House, Toledo, WTOL