‘You Will Eat Better in Toledo’: Fifth annual Restaurant Week Toledo takes place March 2-8Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the fifth year in a row, eateries all over the Glass City area will be offering amazing food for a good cause with Restaurant Week Toledo, taking place from March 2-8.
As in years past, the event features over 30 restaurants from around Northwest Ohio offering menu options at a bargain price, with a portion of the proceeds going to youth programs run by local nonprofit Leadership Toledo.
“It’s an opportunity,” said Cory Dippold, associate executive director of Leadership Toledo, and the administrator for Restaurant Week Toledo. “First of all, to highlight the many wonderful dining opportunities that we have in Toledo, by giving customers a good deal and driving customers to try out these all locally-owned restaurants — sometimes for the first time, and other times they’re going back for their favorite locations.
“It’s also an opportunity to get people into restaurants when they’re not normally a large volume of most people this time of year, especially when it’s so cold outside.”
Thirty-six restaurants from Toledo, Perrysburg and more are participating in the event, with money raised going to Youth Leadership Toledo, Youth In Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence (YIPEE) and Students in Action — all run by Leadership Toledo to inspire local high-schoolers to take a more active role in the community.
“We have three youth programs at Leadership Toledo that we do not charge any kind of tuition for. We must raise all the funds ourselves to put … high school students through the youth programs,” Dippold said. “And it’s focused on leadership skills, community service, philanthropy and just increasing awareness of the challenges facing our community, and it empowers the youth to find solutions to these problems.
“One of the big beliefs we have at Leadership Toledo is that these are not the future leaders, they’re not the ‘leaders of tomorrow.’ But these 16, 17, 18-year-olds can be leaders right now, as high school students. And we try to bring that out of them, and get them to make an impact now.”
As in previous years, participating restaurants will be offering special menu items priced from $5 to $35 — over 100 different dishes in all. Though last year Medical Mutual sponsored healthy choices on every menu, the organizers left offering such an option up to the individual locations this year, but there’s little doubt that no one who attends will be left hungry, no matter what their palate.
Though the event in general has not changed a great deal this year, Dippold mentioned an increased emphasis on customers sharing their experience with others.
“We’re really trying to focus on social media this year, and getting people to make posts about Restaurant Week, to snap pictures and send them up,” he said. “We kind of have a catchphrase this year: ‘You will eat better in Toledo.’”
Dippold also noted how some participants are using their offerings for Restaurant Week Toledo to gauge the taste of their customers.
“Flying Joe Coffee in Perrysburg is just starting to get into food,” he said. “And they’re using their Restaurant Week Toledo menu as a kind of test, to see what people buy and the kind of feedback that they get. And based on that, that will be the entrées and the sandwiches that will be on their permanent menu.”
Dippold said he sees Restaurant Week Toledo as a win-win-win for all involved. Customers get some great eats, participating eateries get a boost and local kids get a chance to show they can make a difference.
“We really want to get Toledo known as a foodie town,” Dippold said. “This is where we have a lot of great, locally-owned restaurants, some very unique restaurants. So we want people to realize that. We also want the restaurants to be packed for the entire week, which helps the restaurants out, helps the wait staff out. But mostly, for the customers, they want to be able to find good deals and good meals.”