Food fight: Charlottesville Restaurant Week becomes weeks

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Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar is one of a host of local eateries participating in what's now two weeks' worth of Charlottesville Restaurant Week deals in January and February. Photo: Andrea Hubbell Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar is one of a host of local eateries participating in what's now two weeks' worth of Charlottesville Restaurant Week deals in January and February. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

The annual food fest known as Charlottesville Restaurant Week—sponsored by The Hook and benefitting the Local Food Hub—has some competition this year from a local marketing group.

In addition to the original and well-known Charlottesville Restaurant Week, which run January 21 to January 27 (and again from July 8 to 14), a new event—somewhat confusingly also dubbed Charlottesville Restaurant Week—will run January 28 to February 3. But whether or not somebody’s trying to eat somebody else’s lunch, it looks like the more the merrier for foodies. After all, the only thing better than a week of great food on the cheap is two weeks of great food on the cheap.

The new promotion is organized by local marketing firm VMV Brands, an advertising, PR, and social media company based in Charlottesville and headed by Jerry Miller, who is steering some proceeds from the event to the Virginia Institute of Autism.

The back-to-back events are similar (though the newcomers have corralled several more than the established group), and there’s some overlap among the participating restaurants. Here’s the breakdown:

The original Charlottesville Restaurant Week:

  • Runs January 21-27
  • Benefits the Local Food Hub
  • Restaurants offer a 3-course meal at either $29 and $36, depending on the restaurant
  • Restaurants include Ristorante Al Dente, Balkan Bistro & Bar, bang!, The Bavarian Chef, The Boar’s Head Old Mill Room, Burtons Grill, da Luca Bistro and Bar, Horse and Hound, l’etoile, The Melting Pot, Orzo, and the C&O. Check out the list here—it has links to each restaurant’s special prix fixe menu.

The new event, billing itself as “the official Charlottesville Restaurant Week”:

  • Runs January 28-February 3
  • Benefits the Virginia Institute of Autism
  • Restaurants offer either a $16 two-course meal, a $26 three-course meal, or a $36 “premium” three-course meal.
  • Restaurants include Petit Pois, Fleurie, the Aberdeen Barn, Ten, Rapture, ZoCaLo, Downtown Grille, Maya, Escafe, The Melting Pot, Glass Haus Kitchen, Tempo, Sal’s Caffe Italia, Balkan Bistro & Bar, Citizen Burger Bar, West Main, Blue Light Grill, The Virginian, Positively 4th St., Michael’s Bistro, C&O Restaurant, Himalayan Fusion, Brookville Restaurant, Rhett’s River Grill, The Bavarian Chef, Savour Restaurant, and Orzo. Click here for a list with menu links.

 

 

 

  • Cushing Whitney

    While it’s totally reasonable to start up a new charity restaurant event if there are willing participants, it seems extremely predatory and sleazy to co-opt the name of an existing event. I’m always looking for a good excuse to go out to dinner, but I don’t think I can support the new “official” restaurant week until they manage to come up with their own branding and identity.

  • Mary

    Looking forward to both events. What luck we have as local foodies to have both events back to back. The restaurants on the CharlottesvilleRestaurantWeek.com website are all our favorites! We’re looking forward to this!

  • Julia

    I find it curious that a local newspaper and marketing firm have taken the reigns on an event that’s traditionally spearheaded by associations of restaurants specifically to ensure that a) the event is in the best interest of the restaurants and not a profit generator by opportunistic, non-restaurant entities and b) assures that this kind of embarrassing redundancy doesn’t happen.

  • Christian

    We are the lucky ones to have such great restaurants. Couple questions I had from reading the story: 1). Why does the CharlottesvilleRestaurantWeek.com website have so many more restaurants than the other? 2). how does The Hook not own CharLlottesvilleRestaurantWeek.com? I’m glad that Maya & C&O are being offered. My family really enjoys these restaurants.

  • The DH

    Should anyone find Restaurant Week — Any Restaurant Week – to be a week where you avoid going out, we’ll just let it be known that Camino will not be doing either one… we prefer taking care of regular customers who dine with us far more often than twice a year. We will welcome you too!

  • JF

    Julia – simple answer (not really): The Hook under took restaurant week as a advertising generating project. Their plan: get restaurants to pay $1800 for advertising, lock you into 6 month advertising contract, ask the restaurant to donate $1 from each seat they sell that week. Meanwhile The Hook pockets the advertising cash and donates ZERO to the charity (that we know of). As a restauranteur, it make zero business sense to pay The Hook $1800 to participate in their scam.

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