The annual Champaign County Area Restaurant Week, presented by Visit Champaign County, kicks off this Friday, January 29, 2021 for its fifth year. 28 area restaurants will offer specials during the nine-day celebration, with numerous changes in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While indoor dining is currently allowed under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, we will continue promoting our Takeout Edition of Restaurant Week,” explains Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement for Visit Champaign County. “Our local eateries, from traditional restaurants, to food trucks and caterers, have crafted tantalizing menus with specials to enjoy from the safety of our homes.”
In years past, menus focused on tiered price points highlighting multi-course meals. “We threw out all the rules for 2021 but did ask our restaurants to think creatively on how to feed people at home. We have meals for one, meals for couples, and family packs, recognizing the need to feed entire households,” says Reifsteck.
Each menu highlights how customers can access the specials available, January 29–February 6. It highlights online ordering options, curbside pickup, and delivery options. Several restaurants will offer their specials for indoor dining as indicated on their menus, including A Taste of Both Worlds, Baldarotta’s, Big Grove Tavern, Project 47 Smokehouse, Siam Terrace, and Sun Singer Restaurant.
The event, which began in 2016 with 17 restaurants, encourages residents and visitors to discover new restaurants, flavors, and dishes during this nine-day celebration. Over the course of four years, the event saw significant growth, with 32 restaurants participating in 2020 and thousands of patrons taking advantage of special menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Visit Champaign County hopes that the changes to the 2021 event will provide a much-needed boost to our local restaurants during the pandemic. Visit Champaign County felt it critical to provide support to restaurants in a way that addressed the concerns of public health officials and residents, while also not overwhelming the limited indoor dining available.
“Given the logistical challenges our restaurants face in managing carryout and in-person dining with minimal staff, we’re urging the community to be patient during Restaurant Week. Order early and tip generously,” states Reifsteck.
Participating restaurants include: A Taste of Both Worlds, Aspen Tap House, Baldarotta’s Porketta & Sicilian Sausage, Biaggi’s, Big Grove Tavern, Caribbean Grill, Dish Passionate Cuisine, El Patio, Esquire Lounge, Farren’s Pub & Eatery, Hamilton Walker’s, Hopscotch Bakery + Market, Houlihan’s, Industrial Donut, Kohinoor Indian Restaurant, La Paloma Mexican Food Truck, Neil St. Blues, Po’ Boys Restaurant, Project 47 Smokehouse, Red Herring Restaurant, Siam Terrace, Stango Cuisine, Sticky Rice, Sun Singer Restaurant, The Dancing Dog Eatery, The Stuft Bird, The Wheelhouse, and Wood N’ Hog Barbecue Downtown Champaign.
Menus can be found at ccrestaurantweek.org and through the Facebook event.