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Our marketing manager, Anne-Stuart is taking over the blog this week to share her Restaurant Week experiences…stay tuned for more mouth-watering details!

Have you been wondering why on earth you can’t get a reservation at your favorite restaurant this week? That would be because it is Restaurant Week in RVA! What is Restaurant Week you ask? Only the most amazing week (two weeks actually—they do one in the fall) of the year! The concept of restaurant week is simple: get a bunch of restaurants to offer three-course meals at a fixed price and donate some of that money to charity. Pretty awesome right? (Nod your head yes.) 

This spring 41 restaurants are participating from around the city with each restaurant offering a different menu, which you can review ahead of time (there’s a real science to this). From the menu you choose one dish each from the appetizer, entrée and dessert course. The price this year is $29.15, which includes your meal and a donation of $4.15 to FeedMore, the umbrella organization for the Central Virginia Food Bank and Meals on Wheels. 

I’m sure by now you want to know who the GENIUS is that thought of this incredible week. Acacia’s Aline Reitzer founded Restaurant Week 14 years ago in 2001. She modeled this event after other restaurant week’s she had been to in cities like New York City. But she particularly wanted to showcase all the local talent in Richmond. Richmond has many unique chefs and restaurants that are featured in magazines and are honored with national awards and this is a great way to showcase all of that.  Each year the event has grown and to date they have raised over $400,000 for FeedMore. So now that you have the facts, how do you tackle Restaurant Week? Well it’s a real science! Check out the menus to see what looks appealing, but read quickly, because you need to call ASAP to make a reservation. Some places have been booked for a week now, but some are still accepting reservations.

Last night I went to Julep’s, my first of three restaurants for the week, with some of my girlfriends. The menu caught our attention, with its southern style cuisine. Located in Shockoe Bottom (but soon moving to a new location on Grace Street), Julep’s is a mix of charming southern hospitality and upscale dining, great for a ladies night! The server started us off with their version of the bread basket: cornbread (far better than regular bread in my opinion), while we perused their restaurant week menu. We all easily settled on the fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese for the appetizer course; however, raging debates took place about what looked best for the next two course. The debates ranged from the catch of the day, to the shrimp and grits to the pimento macaroni and cheese. The desserts were a tossup, they all looked amazing!

I went with the pimento macaroni and cheese, which was served with asparagus and spinach. I love  macaroni and cheese and pimento cheese so this dish was perfect for me! It was so delicious that I practically licked the plate. I followed that up with the milk chocolate cake. Even though I was incredibly full, I took one bite of the cake and was in heaven and decided I couldn’t leave a soldier behind. Not only was the cake moist and rich, but it was smothered in a chocolate port wine sauce (nearly fudge like) and topped with espresso mousse. The whole meal was incredible. But the best part was experiencing something new with friends, which I highly recommend.

Restaurant Week is a rare opportunity to enjoy a lavish meal for a fraction of the cost. It allows you to explore new restaurants or discover new creations at your old favorites. I know I already said this, but it truly is the best two weeks of the year in Richmond.

Restaurant Week runs through Sunday, April 26, with the fall week scheduled for October 19 through 25.  Stay tuned for my follow-up post about 3 Monkeys and Sam Miller’s. Thanks for letting me take over!

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