This month’s Triangle Restaurant Week has felt the changes brought on the industry by the COVID-19 pandemic, but its mission remains the same.
“It’s about supporting local restaurants,” said Triangle Restaurant Week founder Damon Butler. “It’s about reinforcing the face that restaurants are a part of our communities. Living in Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham, going out to restaurants are a big part of that.”
The area’s oldest organized restaurant week returns from Jan. 24 to Jan. 30, closing out a difficult month in the midst of two brutal years for the industry. Butler said Triangle Restaurant Week began 15 years ago as an effort to pack dining rooms during the slow months of January and June.
Here’s how it works
Triangle Restaurant Week is not meant to be a typical night out, Butler said.
“It’s about experimenting for restaurants, and for diners it’s about trying something new,” Butler said.
The participating restaurants will serve two or three-course menus, ranging in price from $15 to $40.
Butler said there are still deals to be had compared to usual menus, but that some prices are $5 higher than previous years due to soaring food costs.
Pick from these restaurants
Triangle Restaurant Week’s winter event features more than 40 restaurants throughout the area, featuring everything from rich bowls of ramen to handmade pasta to smoky barbecue. The roster includes many week veterans, like Durham’s Parizade and Mothers and Sons, Raleigh’s Gravy and Oro and exciting newcomers like Cary’s Peck & Plume.
For the full lineup of restaurants visit trianglerestaurantweek.com/restaurants.
Impact of COVID
In past years, the Triangle Restaurant Week has seen nearly 100 restaurants cooking up special menus for the week. Butler said participation has been cut by as much as 40% from typical years, owing the drop to the impact of the pandemic and the ongoing worker shortage many restaurants are experiencing.
Butler said that takeout is available for diners looking to avoid dining rooms.
“It’s been tough,” Butler said about the pandemic’s impact to restaurants and his promotion. “We’re trying to bring the attention back to restaurants and remind folks that there are a lot of local businesses hurting right now.”