ILLINOIS — Illinois restaurants were banned from serving diners inside for the final six weeks of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many struggling to make ends meet with takeout and delivery orders.
While it’s unclear when restaurants will be allowed to welcome diners back inside, Restaurant Week events in the first few months of the new year will give many establishments a chance to recoup some of their losses from 2020 and reach new customers.
Many areas have not yet scheduled their Restaurant Week 2021 celebrations, but here’s our roundup of events that have been announced so far:
Champaign County Area Restaurant Week — Takeout Edition
Nearly two dozen restaurants in Champaign County are set to take part in the area’s Restaurant Week 2021, which runs from Jan. 29 through Feb. 6.
Instead of fixed-price menus like most years, the nine-day event will have a “Takeout Edition” theme, with participating Champaign County restaurants to make menus that work well for dining at home. Restaurant Week 2021 menus will include solo meals, meals for two and family packs, according to Visit Champaign County, the county’s tourism and marketing agency.
Diners can share pictures of their meals online with the hashtag #CCRestaurantWeek to have a chance to win a $100 gift card to any Champaign County restaurant.
Visit Champaign County is encouraging diners to tip generously during Restaurant Week 2021, with employees taking a significant hit to their income without indoor dining.
Participating restaurants include 13 in Champaign and six in Urbana, as well as establishments in Savoy and Mahomet.
McHenry County Restaurant Week — Takeout Edition
Restaurants Week is set to return to McHenry County from Feb. 19-28, with restaurants throughout the area encouraged to offer takeout deals over that period. The third annual event in McHenry County will look much different than its two previous incarnations due to the indoor dining ban.
Local restaurants can sign up for free to participate in the 10-day promotional event, with Visit McHenry County looking to showcase the “distinct tastes and experiences” on tap in the area.
“We know that dining looks different than it did at this time last year, but we feel that it is even more important to continue this promotion to support our restaurants,” said leaders of the county’s tourism and marketing division.
"To-Go Rockford Region Restaurant Week"
Rockford-area restaurants are preparing for their first takeout-themed Restaurant Week, scheduled to run from Jan. 18-24.
The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is asking residents throughout Winnebago County to take a break from cooking that week to support local restaurants that faced a tumultuous 2020. The agency is also encouraging restaurants to take its “Clean Hands, Open Doors” pledge.
Participating restaurants will be announced on the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Facebook page, with additional details expected Jan. 7.
Madison County-Area Restaurant Week Events
Several cities in Madison County will host Restaurant Week promotions in a bid to boost sales for their local establishments.
Alton Restaurant Week 2021 is scheduled to run from Jan. 15-24, with 20 restaurants to offer $12 lunch specials and $30 dinner specials, according to Great Rivers & Routes of Southwest Illinois.
Diners who visit a participating restaurant can get a free pint glass showcasing a local landmark by taking their receipt to the Alton Visitor Center, 200 Piasa St.
Collinsville Restaurant Week 2021 is set to run from Feb. 26 to March 7, with participating restaurants to offer $10 lunch specials and $25 dinner specials.
Annual Restaurant Week Events Not Yet Scheduled For 2021
Chicago Restaurant Week (ran from Jan. 24-Feb. 9, 2020)
North Shore Restaurant Month (February 2020)
Chicago Northwest Restaurant Week (March 6-15, 2020)
Naperville Restaurant Week (Jan. 24 - Feb. 8, 2020)
Lake County Restaurant Week (Feb. 28-March 8)
Joliet Area Restaurant Week (Feb. 1-13, 2020)
Plainfield Restaurant Week (Feb. 23-29)
Geneva Restaurant Week (Jan. 20-26, 2020)
St. Charles Restaurant Week (Feb. 24-28, Pickup Restaurant Week June 8-14)
Homewood Restaurant Week (March 1-7)
If your town is holding Restaurant Week events in 2021 but isn't listed, let us know in the comments!