Suburban, city restaurants aim to entice diners with Chicago Restaurant Week deals
After a year of devastating uncertainty, closures due to COVID-19 and reopening under safety restrictions for bars and restaurants around the country, Choose Chicago is supporting local eateries by presenting the 14th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, which runs Friday, March 19, through Sunday, April 4.
As in past years, the event gives diners the chance to try famed "it" restaurants, visit and explore new neighborhoods in the city and suburbs and try specially created menus. This year also offers the flexibility of enjoying meals for dine-in, delivery or carryout.
Special meals include prix fixe brunch and lunch menus for $25 and dinner menus for $39 and $55 (excluding beverages, tax, gratuity and delivery). Diners can reserve tables and view menus online for multicourse meals at eatitupchicago.com.
The event will feature more than 265 venues representing 34 distinct Chicago neighborhoods and 33 suburban restaurants. Seventy-eight restaurants are making their Chicago Restaurant Week debut.
Participating again this year is Fox & Turtle in Itasca. "It's special this year," says Chris Curtin, a manager at the American pub inside the Itasca Country Club that's open to the public.
"I'm glad we're doing restaurant week this year," Curtin said. "It's a great opportunity to get the word out that we're still here, for our customers or for people to come out for the first time to try our menu."
The restaurant will be following safety guidelines with masks and social distancing, Curtin said.
"We're a community, the restaurant community, sort of a brotherhood of restaurants, and it shows we back each other. We're here for everybody.
"Especially for those people who might not have been back in a year, it's a reminder that we're here," Curtin said.
At Scratchboard Kitchen in Arlington Heights, the feelings are the same. The brunch/lunch special includes choices such as a breakfast sandwich and citrus toast.
"This is our first year participating as we just opened in 2020," said manager Amie Autenrieth. "We are very excited to participate and showcase what Scratchboard has to offer."
After such a challenging year for restaurants worldwide, the importance of restaurant week isn't lost on Autenrieth.
"It's so important for us because many people have not been able to dine out much in the last year," Autenrieth said. "It's a great opportunity for Scratchboard Kitchen to bring people into the dining room and highlight our spacious and cozy patio. We look forward to extending our cuisine and warm hospitality to new and familiar guests."
Choose Chicago has expanded the 2021 event to provide restaurants with opportunities to participate regardless of dine-in operations availability.
"Chicago Restaurant Week offers participants an exciting way to experience flavors from every corner of our city," said Glenn Eden, board chair of Choose Chicago, in a news release. "Now more than ever, it is crucial to support our local restaurants as they are a big part of our industry and city's economic recovery. I encourage everyone to get out there and experience the dining capital of the U.S. -- try a new cuisine, visit a new neighborhood, embrace the richness of Chicago's culinary diversity."
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Stop by Tokio Pub in Schaumburg for its $25 prix fixe lunch menu and choose from five types of ramen during Chicago Restaurant Week.
- Courtesy of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
Chicago Restaurant Week
When: Friday, March 19, through Sunday, April 4
What: Find a complete list of participating restaurants and menus at choosechicago.com.