Here's your excuse for not cooking in Lake County
Lake County Restaurant Week usually features dining specials and prix fixe menus. This year, however, instead of using deals to coax diners out to restaurants, organizers are encouraging residents to pay full price to help save ailing businesses.
Visit Lake County is calling this year's event "Lake County Restaurant Rally: Feed the Economy." It runs from Friday to March 7.
Despite the serious state of the hospitality industry, organizers are still keeping their tone light. One promotional video produced by Visit Lake County concludes with the message "Stuff Yourself. And Feel Good About It!"
The pandemic's effect on restaurants has been felt across the country. The National Restaurant Association said in December that more than 110,000 restaurants had permanently closed by that point, 17% of restaurants overall.
Visit Lake County President Maureen Riedy said people who participate in restaurant week will get amazing dishes -- either inside local restaurants or through takeout -- while giving a boost to businesses trying hard to recover.
"Food is nurturing, for our bodies and our souls, but it also provides the livelihoods for our neighbors and friends," Riedy said. "We encourage all who can to enjoy and support your local restaurants during this special 10-day time period."
Diners are encouraged to post photos and videos of their positive experiences and to tag restaurants.
Visit Lake County is also urging residents to pick up drinks to-go from local breweries, wineries and distilleries on the Lake County Libation Trail.