The concept of a “Restaurant Week” is said to have originated in New York City back in the early 1990s. The idea was to give foodies an opportunity to enjoy prix-fixe menus at some of the best restaurants in the nation at an affordable rate. The concept caught on, and now you can find dedicated restaurant weeks in a wide variety of cities, towns, and sometimes even neighborhoods, including here in Michigan.
In addition to providing a unique opportunity to explore a variety of eateries within a community at a fixed price, Restaurant Weeks that pop up in winter also help participating establishments to keep business thriving even when people are more likely to want to stay home.
Here are several communities inviting you to get off the sofa and enjoy a seat at their tables this winter.
Ann Arbor (January 13 – January 18)
With over fifty establishments participating, the variety of options in Ann Arbor is extensive. Not surprisingly in the academic-oriented town, the event website highlights a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options available. Several eateries are offering two-for-ones, while most are participating in prix fixe menu selections at lunch and/or dinner. The lunch deals run $15, while dinner is $28. Among the eateries scheduled to participate are: Avalon Kitchen and Cafe, Gandy Dancer, Jim Brady’s, Miss Kim, Prickly Pear, Ravens Club, Real Seafood company, Seva, and Vinology.
Birmingham (February 4 – February 8)
This southeastern Michigan town has long been known as a dining destination. During its celebration guests can enjoy three-course lunches for $18 and three-course dinners for $36. Some of the participating venues include: 220, Adachi, Big Rock Chop House, La Strada Dolci e Caffe, Rugby Grille, Social Kitchen, and Vinotecca.
Dearborn (February 11 – February 17)
In one of the most affordable turns, most of the restaurants participating in the Dearborn event have some $10 options. Additional menu selections will be at $20 or $30 price points. This is a particularly excellent community to visit to try out Middle Eastern cuisine. Venues include: Al Ameer, Brome Eatery, Edison’s, Ford’s Garage, La Fork, Lue Thai Café, Habib’s Cuisine, Mint 29, Shawarma Bash, Sheeba, and Xushi Ko.
Detroit (February 22 – March 3)
The increasingly impressive restaurant scene in Detroit, has also made dining out in the city a bit pricier in recent years. Like the original Restaurant Week in New York, upon which all of these are based, this is a great chance to try some of the higher end places at a more affordable rate. This year’s event will feature specially-priced three-course dinners for only $39 per person, as well as menus at select destinations for only $29. Dining destinations include: Central Kitchen, Chartreuse, Grey Ghost, Lumen, Roast, The Peterboro, and The Rattlesnake Club.
Kalamazoo (February 23 – March 3)
Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week encourages eateries to highlight what makes them truly special with a price-fixed menu at either $10, $25 or $35. The intent is for more innovative pairings, affordable food options, and the chance to hop from place to place given the $10 option. Restaurants expected to participate include: 600 Kitchen & Bar, Food Dance, Fuze, Kelvin & Co., The Wine Loft, and Zazios.
Traverse City (February 24 – March 2)
While the wineries and breweries often capture much of the culinary attention in Northern Michigan, the cherry capital is becoming increasingly well known for its eateries. With beaches as less of a temptation right now, it’s the perfect time of year to discover the restaurants of TC. Nearly thirty participating restaurants will offer special three-course meals during the event. Prices range from $25 – $35 per person. Some of the eateries participating include: 7 Monks, Amical, Apache Trout Grille, Blue Tractor, Firefly, The Franklin, Minervas, Poppycocks, Reflect Bistro, Smoke & Porter, Red Ginger, and Slate.
Royal Oak (March 1 – March 10)
Twenty-five of the eateries in Downtown Royal Oak will be participating in its Restaurant Week. The event features 3-course lunch and dinner options ranging from $15-$35. Some of the participants include: 526 Main, Café Muse, Diamonds Steak and Seafood, D’Amato’s, Lily’s Seafood Grille & Brewery, Oak City Grille, and Town Tavern.
While not required, reservations are highly recommended in most cases. Bon appétit!