Restaurant Week South Carolina is here, which means several things.
First, it’s time to stall any New Year’s resolution that would impede you from taking advantage of the many delectable deals at restaurants throughout Columbia for the next 11 days. Then you can decide how many of the 45 participating eateries in the Midlands to visit.
Restaurant Week South Carolina is Jan. 10-20, and about 250 restaurants throughout the state are participating. Patrons can take advantage of special priced meals, for example a three-course dinner for $39 at Saluda’s or a dinner for two at Alodia’s for $45.
“Restaurant Week gives food lovers the opportunity to experience special lunches and dinners in the state’s casual and high-end restaurants,” said Katie Montgomery, director of communications for South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. “It’s a win-win for the local economy and diners. It gives restaurants a boost during a typically slower time of the year for them and gives diners the chance to try out new places and return to old favorites.”
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This is the 10th year of Restaurant Week South Carolina.
“Restaurants from all across the Midlands are participating in the campaign,” Montgomery said. “We are especially excited to have more restaurants in the Lexington area participating this year.”
For example, Alodia’s Cucina Italiana’s Lexington location (as well as its Irmo restaurant) is participating, as is Catch Seafood.
In the Vista, Sunshine Cobb and her mother, Gai Wilson, opened Kao Thai this summer in the converted former Columbia firehouse headquarters on Senate Street. Kao Thai is offering 50 percent off all bottles of wine during Restaurant Week.
“Our goal at Kao Thai is to bring a bit of Thai culture to the Midlands,” Cobb said. “We love interacting with customers who have traveled either to Thailand or other cities where they had a favorite Thai place. They always share their memories and reminisce about the good eats they had.”
Sample the flavors
During Restaurant Week, diners can dabble in various cuisines, whether they have a craving for Thai, seafood, burgers, chicken fried steak or Italian. And sometimes, the deals encourage folks to experience something new even if they’re at a familiar spot.
“We particularly enjoy that Restaurant Week encourages guests to treat themselves to a traditional Italian dinner, which includes a primi (starter), secondi (entree) and dolci (dessert),” said George Kessler, chef and owner of Il Giorgione Pizzeria & Wine Bar. “Not everyone does on a regular night, so our Restaurant Week special lets guests indulge themselves into a true authentic experience.”
Find a new favorite
And sometimes diners find new favorite restaurants.
“We are thrilled to welcome so many first-time customers,” said Harvey Etheredge, of Fancy That Bistro and Catering. “With our business being located downtown, we mainly get a lot of Main Street foot traffic. But Restaurant Week gets people driving in from all across town just to try our specials.”
Even popular restaurants that have been around for a while see new faces.
“Saluda’s loves to participate in Restaurant Week because it gives us the opportunity to reach out to new guests who may not have dined with us before,” said owner Steve Cook. “It promotes people getting out and eating more at locally owned restaurants and, of course, we are all for that.”
So yes, Restaurant Week gives you the opportunity to try different Columbia eateries with good deals. But here are five more reasons to take advantage of Restaurant Week:
1. Did we mention there’s a scavenger hunt?
Seriously, if you didn’t have a New Year’s resolution about participating in a scavenger hunt in 2019, you definitely should. During Restaurant Week, there will be 100 Soda City Caps circulating among participating Midlands’ eateries. If you find one, grab it (you get to keep it — it’s also a bottle opener) and post a photo with it on social media with the hashtag #RWSC. Do that and you’ll win a gift card to the restaurant where you’re eating.
2. You’re not completely blowing your New Year’s resolution.
Restaurant Week is a reasonable reason to at least stall any resolution that restricts fun eating. At the same time, the deals help save money. So if you have a resolution that involve saving money and eating out less, you’re good. And if you didn’t have a resolution to eat at different restaurants, well you should.
3. Impress a date or business client with a three-course meal, without busting your budget or expense account.
The University of South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball teams each have a home game scheduled at Colonial Life Arena during Restaurant Week — the women play Florida on Jan. 10, and the men play Missouri on Jan. 12. The Vista has several participating restaurants (including Blue Marlin, Carolina Ale House, Carolina Strip Club, Carolina Western Pub, Grill Marks, Kao Thai, Kaminsky’s, Liberty, Old Chicago, Pearlz, Ruth’s Chris, SakiTumi) which makes this a great opportunity to have a nice dinner then take in a Gamecock basketball game.
4. It’s a great time to try one of the newer restaurants.
New eateries are always popping up throughout the Midlands, including Kao Thai, Alodia’s Lexington location, Carolina Western Pub, Catch Seafood, Citta Del Cotone, The Grand, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse or Michael’s Cafe and Top Golf Swing Suite.
5. Participating in Restaurant Week is simple.
All you have to do is go to the restaurant and eat. But here are a few tips to make it even easier:
▪ Make reservations when possible. This can be done online at RestaurantWeekColumbia.com.
▪ Make a plan. Restaurant Week is 11 days. There are 45 restaurants participating in Columbia. If you’re going to be traveling throughout the state, you can find participating restaurants in that area at restaurantweeksouthcarolina.com
▪ If you don’t get a Restaurant Week menu, ask your server for it. Let them know you want to take advantage of the special deal.
Here is a list of participating restaurants and their Restaurant Week specials (if known). Check www.restaurantweeksouthcarolina.com for last-minute restaurant additions, updated information, menus and to make reservations. Please note that restaurants may update their specials.
▪ Alodia’s Cucina Italiana (Irmo and Lexington): Dinner, $45 per couple
▪ BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
▪ Blue Fin: Three course dinner $29.95
▪ Blue Marlin: Three course dinner, $35
▪ Burger Tavern 77: Three-course lunch or dinner, $19
▪ Carolina Ale House (Columbiana and Vista)
▪ Carolina Strip Club: Three-course dinner, $45
▪ Carolina Western Pub: Dinner for two, $30
▪ Catch Seafood: Three-course dinner, $20
▪ Cellar on Greene
▪ Citta Del Cotone
▪ Columbo’s at the DoubleTree
▪ Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse: Dinner, $29.95
▪ Denos’ Fine Foods
▪ Fancy That! Bistro & Catering: Lunch, $6.99
▪ Grill Marks: Lunch and dinner, $11.99
▪ Harbor Inn Seafood
▪ II Giorgione Pizzeria & Wine Bar: Three-course dinner, $28
▪ Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe
▪ Kao Thai: 50 percent off wine bottles
▪ Liberty Tap Room (Vista and on the Lake)
▪ Lizard’s Thicket Restaurants
▪ Michaels Cafe and Top Golf Swing Suite: Dinner, $19
▪ Midwood Smokehouse: Three-course dinner, $25
▪ Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe
▪ Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom: Three-course dinner, $15
▪ Original Pancake House (Trenholm Plaza): Lunch and dinner, $3.80-$4.80
▪ Pawleys Front Porch
▪ Pearlz Oyster Bar
▪ Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse: Dinner feast, $27.95
▪ Ruth’s Chris Steak House: Three-course dinner, $45
▪ SakiTumi Grill and Sushi Bar: Three-course dinner, $28
▪ Saluda’s: Three-course dinner, $39
▪ Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar
▪ The Grand: Dinner, $26
▪ The Melting Pot
▪ The Terrace Bar & Grill at The Embassy Suites Hotel: Three-course dinner, $35
▪ Tombo Grille
▪ Villa Tronco
▪ Za’s Brick Oven Pizza: Three-course dinner, $20