Special deals Feb. 21 to March 2 benefit Leadership ToledoWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
From Feb. 21 to March 2, area diners will have the opportunity to enjoy delicious dishes at dozens of locally owned restaurants while also supporting a local nonprofit that works with area youth.
Restaurant Week Toledo has grown every year and the third annual event will be the biggest yet, organizers say.
The event, presented by Medical Mutual, will feature new venues as well as returning favorites and will be three days longer than last year, said co-chair Becca Gorman. Each venue will also include at least one meal designated as a healthy option. Ten percent of proceeds will benefit Leadership Toledo’s youth programs.
Each of the restaurants — including venues in Toledo as well as Holland, Maumee, Perrysburg, Swanton, Sylvania and Waterville — will feature a special Restaurant Week menu priced at $10, $20 or $30. Drinks, taxes and gratuities are not included unless specified. Plate 21 will offer a special coffeehouse menu priced at $5.
Participating restaurants are Bar 145, Barr’s Public House, The Blarney Irish Pub, Bobby V’s American Grill, Burger Bar 419, Caper’s Restaurant, Gradkowski’s, ICE Restaurant and Bar, La Scola Italian Grill, Loma Linda, Mancy’s Bluewater Grille, Mancy’s Steaks, Manhattan’s, Maumee Wines and Bistro, The Oliver House (The Café, Maumee Bay Brew Pub, Mutz and Rockwell’s), Plate 21, Poco Piatti, Registry Bistro, Rosie’s Italian Grille, Shorty’s True American Roadhouse, Tea Tree Asian Bistro, TREO, Ventura’s and Zinful.
“There really is something for everyone,” said co-chair Margot Estes. “Have a date night, meet some friends or take the kids out — it is all possible with the variety of restaurants supporting Restaurant Week Toledo.”
A portion of funds raised by Restaurant Week Toledo will help support Youth Leadership Toledo and Students in Action, two youth programs of Leadership Toledo.
Youth Leadership Toledo is a nine-month program that works with select high school sophomores to develop leadership skills with an emphasis on exploring and resolving issues faced by their local communities.
“What we see is a tremendous amount of individual personal growth,” said Leadership Toledo Executive Director Dave Schlaudecker. “They come to understand and appreciate their talents to be leaders, to have a spirit of giving, to help motivate each other and to help give that spirit of giving to others.”
Since 1998, 697 students have participated in Youth Leadership Toledo, said Cory Dippold, associate executive director of Leadership Toledo. This year’s class is comprised of 52 students from 33 regional high schools.
“Being a part of this wonderful program has truly opened my eyes to the opportunities to be sought out in the world, and has given me, personally, a family,” said participant Amanda Eckel of Toledo School for the Arts in an email. “Having a place to belong, with people who have the same common goal, honestly proves to be the best motivation a striving high school student could receive.
“Not only are we handed individual opportunities to succeed, but we are granted a basis for developing improvements in society, with our own groups and services,” she said. “Youth Leadership Toledo has definitely proven itself a life-changing experience, giving those involved the real world skills needed in advancing the world and creating solid relationships with those who share a similar objective.”
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 31 schools, including Springfield High School, which was named one of the top three programs in the country last year, Dippold said. Participating students have logged 213,000 service hours this school year.
“We see a culture change in the school,” Schlaudecker said. “Even at schools that have a requirement for community service, our youth involved in the program convert the school from having to do service to wanting to do service, and that’s a huge culture shift.”
Restaurant Week Toledo has gotten better every year, said Neal Kovacik, general manager of Oliver House operations. Rockwell’s has participated for the past two years and this year all four Oliver House restaurants will participate.
“It created a lot of traffic and a lot of interest last year,” Kovacik said. “It’s a great way to highlight local restaurants and a great way to get people in that may have not tried the place before, and of course it’s for a good cause.”
Many chefs created new dishes specifically for Restaurant Week.
“The best part is restaurants are featuring things they don’t normally have on their menus,” said Zinful owner Joyce Franzblau. “Everyone’s trying to stand out and draw new business, so the food’s going to be outstanding and exquisite.”
Rosie’s Italian Grille owner Phil Barone said he appreciates that all the participating restaurants are locally owned.
“People need to experience all the different restaurants Toledo offers,” Barone said. “There’s some great food in Toledo and I think Restaurant Week shows you that. And they’re all locally owned, so that’s supporting local restaurants and that’s a fantastic thing.”
Toledo Free Press is a media sponsor of Restaurant Week Toledo.
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