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Restaurant Week offers great deals for travelers

Restaurant Week offers great deals for travelers who plan ahead. Many cities in general and most major destinations these days, including Charlottesville, offer an annual Restaurant Week. Charlottesville actually offers two weeks each year, once in the cold, dreary winter and then again in mid-summer.

Take the night off from cooking, but not from great food.
Take the night off from cooking, but not from great food.
Pamela Perkins Donnelly
Gourmet meals at incredible savings make Charlottesville's Restaurant Week a traveler's delight.
Pamela Perkins Donnelly

For local residents, Restaurant Week is an ideal opportunity to try a new meal, or a new restaurant, with a minimum impact to the wallet. Restaurant Week menus may be offered for dinner only, or lunch and dinner. In Charlottesville, prices range from $16 for a two-course meal, to $26 for three courses, and $36 for a premium 3-course meal.

Pre fixe prices generally do not include tax, gratuity, beverages and alcohol. Each set price usually includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Sometimes, for an additional fee, individual restaurants may pair special beverages, alcohol, beer or wine flights with the pre fixe meal.

Tipping the server is a must: their service is not part of the discount. Tipping should be based on the full price of the meal. As each Restaurant Week approaches, pre fixe menus can be found online.

Do the research online or by phone, and make travel plans accordingly. The savvy traveler may plan taking in a Charlottesville tourist destination such as UNESCO World Heritage site Monticello, and then polish off the day with a gourmet meal at a nearby participating Restaurant Week restaurant.

In addition to financial savings, the timing of Restaurant Week adds to its perks. Winter Restaurant Week, generally held in January, is a flawless way to come down off the holidays, continuing the celebratory spirit while adding a little spark of fun to the start of the cold winter season.

Summer Restaurant Week is the perfect time for gourmet alfresco dining on a budget. And for the organized traveler, Restaurant Week is an impeccable way to add a little gourmet to your budget travel. Part of the fun of traveling to a new locale is eating like the locals and trying cuisine unlike that of your home town.

And both summer and winter Restaurant Week events support a good cause: $1 of every meal goes to a local charity. Eat well, and feel good about yourself at the same time, knowing your dining pleasure is also giving back to the community.

Highly popular with locals and travelers alike, reservations are generally recommended, as well as announcing to your server near the beginning of the meal that the special Restaurant Week meal and discount is desired. The need for reservations is especially true in Charlottesville, as locals await the annual event with much anticipation.

Charlottesville’s Restaurant Week also functions as a fundraiser, with $1 of every meal being donated to a local charity. The Restaurant Week phenomenon began in the early 1990s. Who actually invented Restaurant Week is something of a debate, but Tim Zagat’s name figures prominently.

According to this local NBC 29 article, Charlottesville’s Restaurant Week began in 2009 with 8 participating restaurants. By 2010 that figure had jumped to 18, and continues to climb.

With a little research, discovering a destination city’s planned Restaurant Week should not be that difficult. Below are a few resources to assist planning your next Restaurant Week adventure:

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